(UPDATED COVERAGE, MAY 29, 4:05 P.M.) A Honduran port handling most of the country’s fresh banana exports, closed after an earthquake May 28, reopened on a limited basis May 29, said a representative of Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif.
Puerto Cortes reopened May 29, but was working very slowly and only for ships that had their own cranes, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager at Dole.
Goldfield said Dole suffered no damage to growing operations and no employee injuries.
“Some vessels may see delays due to port and infrastructure damage, such as roads and bridge issues,” Goldfield said. “I have no word on when (the port) may be fully operational again, but at this point, we don’t expect any issues in our supply to North America from Honduras.”
Goldfield said he had no information on what portion of Dole’s banana production comes out of Puerto Cortes.
Dole and Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International account for the bulk of U.S. banana business out of Honduras. In 2008, the U.S. imported 506,000 metric tons of bananas and plantains from Honduras, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Chiquita’s director of corporate communications, Bryan Brown, said company officials are looking into the matter further and checking for damage updates.