Bringing millions of bananas

Largest ever container ship to berth in Cork

Yesterday, the largest container ship to ever berth in the Port of Cork's deepwater terminal, unloaded a mega cargo of fruit. The MV Polar Costa Rica eased past Roche's Point after its 10-day transatlantic voyage and tied up just after 4pm at the port facility in Ringaskiddy.

A huge logistics operation kicked in to unload part of its massive cargo of bananas predominately, but also pineapples and melons, direct from plantations across Central America. With a deadweight tonnage of 43,600 tonnes, the 230-metre long ocean-going giant was carrying hundreds of huge containers, each containing several pallets which in turn contained dozens of smaller boxes of fruit.

The MV Polar Costa Rica has capacity for 1,000 containers which means the ship could carry about 132 million bananas - if that was its only cargo. Tropical fruit import giant, Fyffes, took 50 containers containing about 7 million bananas off the ship yesterday.

Con Connolly, port operations manager with Fyffes, said vessels of this size are calling to Cork because of the scale of Fyffes' importation business. "We alone have 312 containers of fruit on this vessel at the moment - most of them are bananas, and the rest are pineapples.”

"This is the ship's first call, and we've taken about 50 containers off here in Cork, but the ship will deliver the rest of our containers to the UK and Europe next, for distribution all over the UK and to nine countries across Europe. And then we'll do it all again next week."

According to, the bananas which arrived in Cork today are green and rock hard. They will be stored at around 13o-14oC over the coming days, before the temperature is raised gradually. Ultimately they will be treated with special gas and ripened before being displayed on shop shelves, most by Monday.

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