Mission Produce Enters 3PL Partnership With NatureSweet® Tomatoes in Laredo, Texas; Ben Barnard and Bruno Del Rio Comment
OXNARD, CA - What do avocados and tomatoes have to do with each other? Each category will be holding its weight in the new alliance between Mission Produce and NatureSweet® Tomatoes. The two have entered into a long-term, third-party logistics (3PL) partnership leveraging Mission’s forward distribution center (FDC) in Laredo, Texas, which is expected to support the expansion of NatureSweet’s portfolio.
“Given the size and scale of our business, Mission is uniquely positioned to offer 3PL services that streamline operations and create logistical efficiencies for complementary products,” said Ben Barnard, Vice President of Business Operations at Mission. “We designed our Laredo mega center to serve as a major hub for U.S. avocado imports, and we are leveraging the facility’s size and advanced technology to drive volume and generate additional revenue through synergistic partnerships with produce importers. While enabling those partners to benefit from economies of scale, this business model also allows us to maximize utilization of the facility, especially in times of lower avocado supply. We are confident in our ability to support NatureSweet’s delivery and distribution needs, and we look forward to partnering with them for many years to come.”
Mission will be providing NatureSweet with cold storage, cross docking, repacking, inventory management, access to quality inspections, and more. According to a press release, NatureSweet plans to consolidate 70 percent of its volume coming from Mexico and distribute to United States customers located throughout the Southwest, Midwest, and east of the Mississippi.
The 261,000-square-foot FDC opened in September 2021 with a goal to support the $4.2 billion of produce imported through the Laredo World Trade Port of Entry. The partnership is Mission’s largest 3PL agreement to date.
“We expect our partnership with Mission Produce to significantly improve the distribution of NatureSweet’s top-selling produce,” says Bruno Del Rio, NatureSweet’s Vice President of Supply Chain. “There is increased demand for NatureSweet tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, and Mission’s state-of-the-art consolidation center will allow us to expedite product in the U.S., keeping quality and freshness a top priority. Our commitment to improve NatureSweet’s daily operations is directly linked to the purpose of our company, which is transforming the lives of agricultural workers in North America.”
Cheers to this fruitful partnership!