Port Freeport Welcomes M/V Dole Aztec on Its Maiden Call to the United States

FREEPORT, TX (June 1, 2021) – On Monday, May 31, Port Freeport welcomed the M/V DOLE AZTEC at the Velasco Container Terminal on its first call to the United States.  Port Freeport Executive Director/CEO Phyllis Saathoff, Port Commission Chairman Shane Pirtle, and Port Commissioners presented a plaque to commemorate the occasion to Master of the Vessel, Captain Kazimir Botica, and to Dole’s Operations Finance Manager Stephen H. Hylton and Freeport Terminal Manager Chris Noble.  Dole presented Port Freeport with a model ship marking the milestone.

Built in 2021, the M/V DOLE AZTEC is named to recognize the indigenous people of the region that these vessels will serve, carrying their fresh exports to the valued customers and consumers of the South and Central United States. They represent Dole’s respect and admiration for the ethos of the cultures with which these regions were bestowed.

“Port Freeport is proud to welcome the M/V DOLE AZTEC to the Velasco Container Terminal and appreciates our longstanding relationship with Dole Fresh Fruit,” Port Commission Chairman Shane Pirtle said.  “We look forward to continuing our partnership of providing a valuable supply of high-quality fresh fruit to the consumers of North America.”

With capacity of more than 900 reefer containers (FEUs), the DOLE AZTEC is equipped with machinery that is not only very economical in fuel consumption per container carried, but also meets the strict present-day emission mandates that demand a substantial reduction in CO2, SO2 (SOx), and NO (NOx) gases. Along with the latest exhaust gas scrubbing technology, resulting in 52% reduction of SOx emissions, the propulsion and power plant engines are all certified TIER III compliant — achieving nearly 66% reduction in NOx emissions per FEU carried, when compared to the vessels built 30 years ago.

"The introduction of the DOLE AZTEC into our vessel fleet marks one more way we are providing fruit with a reduced carbon footprint in our operations," Nelson Montoya, president of Dole Fresh Fruit North America, stated.  "DOLE AZTEC is not only very economical in fuel and energy consumption, but also meets the strict present-day emission mandates that demand a substantial reduction in CO2, SO2 (SOx), and NO (NOx) gases. Modernization of our fleet's carbon emissions is one part of The Dole Way promise."

Dole relocated their operations to Freeport in April 1983.  In 2020, Dole supplied over 9.5MM boxes of bananas to North America through Port Freeport, promoting nutritional education through their marketing and distribution of high-quality produce.

“Port Freeport is proud of the 38 years of partnership with Dole Fresh Fruit and congratulates them on the deployment of their newest vessel, the DOLE AZTEC,” Port Freeport Executive Director/CEO Phyllis Saathoff said.  “We look forward to the future success of our long-lasting relationship delivering economic benefits to our region and nutritious fresh fruit to households in Texas and beyond.”

Port Freeport is a leading port in the export of crude oil and natural gas liquids and ranked 6th in chemicals, 15th in foreign waterborne tonnage, and 26th in containers.  A 2019 Economic Impact Study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute revealed that, nationally, the Freeport Harbor Channel generates 279,780 jobs and has a total economic output of $149 billion.  Port Freeport serves Atlantic Container Lines, AMPORTS, BASF, Chiquita Fresh N.A., CEMEX, CMA CGM, Dole Fresh Fruit, The Dow Chemical Company, Enterprise Products, Exxon Mobile, Freeport LNG, Glovis, Grimaldi Lines, Hoegh Autoliners, Kirby Marine, Liberty Global Logistics, Mammoet, MEGlobal, Phillips 66, Riviana Foods, Inc., Sallaum Lines, Tenaris, U.S Department of Energy, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, and Vulcan Materials Company.

Port Freeport is committed to keeping the local community informed of our operations and results. If you have questions or comments about this article, please email or call Jessica Follett, Public Affairs Manager.


About Dole Food Company

Dole Food Company, Inc., 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.


PHOTO CUTLINE: Port Freeport Commissioners and staff welcome the M/V DOLE AZTEC.






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