Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., announced plans to build six container ships to service its ocean transportation lanes between Central/South American and U.S. ports. This ship building program will initially replace the entire U.S. East Coast fleet of vessels, with the first ship delivery estimated in late 2019, and will eventually be expanded to call other ports as all the new vessels come into service.

“Del Monte was one of the first large-scale banana producers to receive the SCS Carbon Neutral Certification for our banana operations in Costa Rica. These new ships are an extension of our sustainability commitment on the high seas,” says Dennis Christou, vice president marketing. “The six state-of-the-art container vessels will not only increase our tonnage capacity and speed to market, but will also significantly reduce air pollution and energy consumption. The new energy efficient vessels are designed to meet the most stringent IMO (International Maritime Organization) Emission control regulations coming into effect in 2020.”

The six vessels, designed by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute, China, will be built at the CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Co. shipyard. Each vessel will have a capacity of 634, 40-foot-high cube container capacity.