Solent Stevedores and ABP have given an exclusive preview of Southampton port’s upgraded fresh produce terminal to VIP clients from the Canary Islands. The President of the Canary Islands Government, Mr Fernando Clavijo, and representatives of the tomato growing and exporting federation, Fedex, toured the Fresh Produce Terminal on Tuesday 8 November.
Chairman and CEO of Solent Stevedores, Stuart Cullen, welcomed the visitors who are at the start of their tomato exporting season.
ABP’s recent £8.3 mill investment in upgrading the terminal has expanded the cool store’s temperature range and chilled storage capacity, giving Solent Stevedores the opportunity to handle a wider variety of chilled fruits and other high-value products all year round in Southampton.
Stuart Cullen and Mr Clavijo jointly cut a ribbon at the terminal to celebrate the Canary Islands links with the port, the commencement of the new tomato season, the completion of the upgrades to the storage areas, and the commitment of the growers with their trade in the UK.
The main storage areas of the building now feature energy-efficient lights, rapid-action doors, multiple storage compartments, and a brand new energy efficient cooling system that can operate at different temperatures in different parts of the building. The upgrade process is continuing with the creation of an integrated packhouse facility that will be operational in February 2017 and will support a team of over 40 specialist fruit packing operatives.
To complement the upgrades to the terminal, ABP has invested in two new harbour mobile cranes and Solent Stevedores has purchased new pallet cages and a fleet of 16 high capacity fork lift trucks to improve the handling capacity for fresh produce at the port.
Solent Stevedores has recently signed a 20-year deal with ABP to operate the Fresh Produce Terminal and support the port’s capital investment programme.
ABP Port director Alastair Welch said:
“The port is delighted to welcome Mr Clavijo and other honoured guests to preview the improvements at the fresh produce terminal. Work will continue on the building into the New Year and we look forward to expanding our operation to meet increased demands in the future.”
Stuart Cullen said;
“Solent Stevedores is committed to providing the best possible cool-storage service to our existing customers to help them continue to develop their business in the UK, and we hope our expanded offering to the wider market will attract new customers in the future to the Port of Southampton.”