The California-based Dole Food Company is to launch a program to renew its owned fleet of reefer-oriented container vessels.
Dole’s board of directors therefore on Tuesday approved the acquisition of three new built refrigerated container ships for the company’s San Diego-based U.S. West Coast operations.
The ships will cost approximately USD 165 million and they are scheduled for a phased delivery in the late 2015 to early 2016 time frame. So far, Dole has not actually placed any firm orders, but the company is believed to be in talks with a number of shipyards.
While detailed technical parameters of the new ships have not been disclosed yet, Dole said that the three vessels will be built to exact specifications provided by the company. Each new ship will have a capacity of 770 feu (1,540 teu) and every 40-foot slot will be equipped with electricity supply for temperature-controlled containers.
The trio is to replace a series of 491 feu (982 teu) reefer vessels, which Dole received between 1988 and 1991 from Fincantieri’s Italian shipyard at Ancona, Marghera and Castellamare di Stabia: the DOLE HONDURAS, DOLE COSTARICA, DOLE CALIFORNIA and DOLE ECUADOR. As their predecessors, the new ships will be equipped with travelling gantry or jib cranes, which will make them self-sustained in port.
With the upcoming order, Dole will be taking advantage of the current low newbuilding prices and will be able to realise lower operating costs. Once the newbuildings arrive, the present ships will have reached ages of up to 27 years and they are expected to be disposed of for recycling.