Portsmouth International has appointed maritime veteran Ian Palacio as business development manager as it looks to attract new customers to the port following the news that Geest Line is moving its banana imports to Dover.
In the new role, Palacio will be assisting Portsmouth City Council-owned cargo handling firm MMD, which operates the freight terminal and has a fresh produce imports facility at the port.
Before Geest Line’s departure, the company was reported to have handled 70 per cent of the bananas arriving in the UK.
Palacio’s focus in his new role will be on developing the port’s freight, ferry and cruise markets, and boosting customer relations.
His maritime career has seen him working for the UK’s biggest port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) for 19 years, as well as Geest Line and Tropic Shipping.
For the last 12 years, he has been the commercial manager for ABP at the Port of Southampton, having started with the organisation in 1998 in the operations department. He then moved into a business role that also took him to the head office in London.
Commenting on the task ahead, Palacio said: “Despite a strong reputation in the industry, there is a need to attract new customers at MMD, following the recent news that Geest Line is moving banana imports to another port for scheduling reasons.
“Fresh produce has always been a specialty and we can build on that expertise. I believe there is also real potential to develop other cargo streams at MMD following recent investment in new equipment and facilities.”
The shipping veteran added: “My move to Portsmouth International Port feels like a natural progression and I look forward to helping current customers, and developing relationships with new operators too.”