Port Freeport and Dole Fresh Fruit celebrate 40 years of partnership

FREEPORT, TX (April 25, 2023) – Today marks the 40-year anniversary of Port Freeport’s partnership with Dole Fresh Fruit Company, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company.  With roots in Hawaii dating back to 1851, Dole Food Company is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.  Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education.  Dole imports bananas, pineapples and plantains to Port Freeport weekly and serves a large portion of the Texas market and beyond.  Dole has a deep commitment to make the world a healthier, more sustainable place by responsible growing, processing and distribution of its produce - today and for generations to come.

“It is an honor to share this deep-rooted long-term relationship with an industry leader like Dole Fresh Fruit and we are truly grateful for their partnership for the 40 years,” said Phyllis Saathoff, Port Freeport Executive Director/CEO. 

Dole expanded their operations to Port Freeport in April 1983.  In 2021, Dole deployed the newly built DOLE AZTEC and DOLE MAYA container vessels to their Gulf Express service calling Port Freeport.  The vessels were named to recognize the indigenous people of the region that these vessels serve, carrying their fresh exports to the valued customers and consumers of the South and Central United States.  In 2022, Dole supplied over 10.5MM boxes of bananas to North America through Port Freeport. 

“Dole is very proud to be a long and productive member of the Freeport, Texas community,’’ said Nelson Montoya, President of Dole Fresh Fruit, North America.  “40 years here demonstrate our loyalty and commitment to the people of Texas, the port, the labor pool, and all our employees, vendors and customers that the port touches.”

Reducing emissions from operations to address climate change is a significant focus for Dole as it continues to adopt clean sources of energy along its supply chain to power vessels and vehicles, farming equipment, and processing plants and packing operations.  The Dole Aztec and Dole Maya use the latest in sustainable technology, including hydrodynamic efficient hulls and best-in-class main and auxiliary engines, to help reduce shipping emissions.

“Dole has had positive economic impacts for the community by supporting families with well-paying jobs and reliably supplying our retailers throughout the state and beyond with quality, nutritious fruit.  Dole’s commitment to the environment and their promise of working towards a sustainable future is admirable.  The Port Commission is proud to call Dole Fresh Fruit a partner,” said Port Commission Chairman John Hoss.

Port Freeport is a leading port in the export of crude oil and natural gas liquids and ranked 6th in chemicals, 11th in foreign waterborne export tonnage, and 26th in containers.  A 2022 Economic Impact Study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute revealed that, nationally, the Freeport Harbor Channel generates 266,300 jobs and has a total economic output of $157.3 billion. Port Freeport serves Alliera, Atlantic Container Lines, AMPORTS, BASF, Chiquita Fresh N.A., Dole Fresh Fruit, The Dow Chemical Company, Enterprise Products Partners, ExxonMobil, Freeport LNG, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Glovis, Grimaldi Lines, Hoegh Autoliners, Kirby Marine, Liberty Global Logistics, Mammoet, MEGlobal, NYK RORO, Oceanus Line, Phillips 66, Riviana Foods, Inc., Sallaum Lines, Tenaris, U.S Department of Energy, Volkswagen Group of America, and Vulcan Materials Company.


Dole Food Company, part of Dole plc, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.  Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.dole.com.


Port Freeport is committed to keeping the local community informed of our operations and results.  If you have questions or comments about this announcement, please email or call Tricia Vela, Public Affairs Assistant.