A new €260-million banana ripening center in Balbriggan, North County Dublin, Ireland, has begun operations, according to senior officials at multinational Fyffes.
The facility expects to be able to output 7 million bananas per week – nearly 60,000 tonnes annually – that will serve retailers, wholesalers and other food providers across the entirety of the county.
“The new development will have a very positive impact on Fyffes by delivering even greater productivity and strengthening its ability to service the needs of our customers,” Fyffes Chief Executive Officer Helge Sparsoe said at an event to open the center. He said it also will be “a commitment to securing Fyffes future operations in Ireland,” helping boost and retain workers in the area.
Located near the M1 motorway, the 10-acre site offers Fyffes strong distributing abilities. It will be serviced directly from Cork Port, an essential throughway for produce that comes into Ireland from Central and South America. The 8,500 square-metre along with its co-locate officed buildings, loading bays and parking, give Fyffes an upgrade from its previous center in Swords.
The company says 120 workers can be present at a given time in the new location, which was designed by Irish architects Scott Tallon Walker and built by Monaghan-based construction firm, Meegan Builders. Refrigeration work was done by the Cross Group.
The plant is also going to also be better for the environment and one of the most sustainable in the country, highlighted by its green roof system for growing flora. Fyffes says it will utilize 60% less energy than the Swords center, “supplied by roof-mounted photovoltaic panels whilst both the office heating and cooling systems will be fed via a Ground Source Heat Pump.” It also will feature rainwater harvesting systems, LED lighting, window glazing and external ‘brise soleil’ to limit overheating. There will be plenty of parking but also spaces for bicycles and charging points for electric vehicles.
Fyffes, with an annual turnover €1.2 billion, is the largest importer of Fairtrade bananas in the world. Part the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation, it employs workers at its new facility, another in Dundalk and thousands across the world.