Maersk has signed an 'unusual' three-year deal to ship bananas to the UK from Costa Rica with Fyffes, the Fresh Produce Journal (FPJ) has reported.
The deal has been seen as a major commitment to supplying the UK against a background of the worldwide economic downturn and rising fuel prices.
The service will go from Belize where Fyffes takes 100 per cent of its volume, through Costa Rica, Panama, Cork, Tilbury, Rotterdam and ending at Bremerhaven.
One source told FPJ: "A three year deal is very unusual in containerised shipping. Usually deals are one year, two-year maximum.
"Fyffes will obviously have big volumes on that ship for the foreseeable so it shows Maersk is committed to Costa Rica and that route.
He added: "MSC have done some big deals with Chiquita into northern Europe and with Dole into the Mediterranean and eroded Maersk’s market share, they haven taken a big slice of what was the traditional reefer business."