About Geest Line

And our company's history

Geest Line Today

  • Geest Line has fostered trade links between the UK and the Caribbean for more than 60 years and today carries more cargo between Europe and the Windward and Leeward islands than any other shipping line.

    The origins of the service lie in the shipment of bananas eastbound. Instead of the ships returning in ballast, it provided the perfect opportunity for establishing a general cargo service carrying everything from small packages to large project machinery.

    The flexibility of the service is maintained today with a wide range of breakbulk and containerised cargo carried on the weekly westbound departures which sail from Portsmouth and also Le Havre in France.

    Surveys show that Geest Line has the highest schedule reliability for round-trip crossings and the shortest transit times to the first port of call in the Caribbean. The movement of perishable fruits means that ships must arrive and depart on time, enabling Geest Line to offer a precise, fixed day service which allows UK exporters to be certain their goods will arrive at the scheduled time. In addition, our experience in the Caribbean puts us in an unrivalled position to offer efficient, careful handling and swift clearance of cargo.

    Geest Line’s comprehensive network of island calls in the Caribbean also means that we can offer an efficient inter-island service. Our services run exclusively to the Caribbean.

    By concentrating on the region we know best, we maintain our position as the No.1 shipping line to the Caribbean.

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Our History

2019 Port operations in the UK returned to Portsmouth
2018 Port operations in the UK moved to Dover
2008 Geest Bananas Limited changes name to Geest Line Limited
2002 Port operations in the UK moved to Portsmouth
2001 Geest Bananas stops selling bananas in its own name in the UK
1998 Geest Line uses controlled atmosphere for carriage of bananas for first time improving shelf life of fruit
1998 Coventry Ripening centre opened
1996 Geest plc sells Geest Bananas to a joint venture between Windward Islands Banana Development & Exporting Company (UK) Limited and Fyffes Group Limited
1993 Geest St Lucia and Geest Dominica enter service
1993 Geest Line port operations moved from Barry to Southampton
1986 Geest plc quoted on London Stock Exchange
1985 Geestbay rescues Richard Branson, Chay Blyth and crew of Virgin Atlantic Challenger from sea after their failed attempt to claim the Blue Ribbon trophy for fastest Atlantic crossing.
1983 Geestport first commercial vessel into Grenada after American invasion
1982 Port operations in UK moved to Avonmouth for a short period before returning to Barry
1982 Geestport requisitioned by British Government to support Falklands War
1982 New Geestport enters service
1981 Geestbay enters service
1973 New Geeststar enters service
1972 Geestcrest and new Geestland enter service
1971 Geesttide enters service
1969 Geest stops using Liverpool following loss of fruit due to dock strike
1966 Geestcape and Geesthaven enter service
1964 Geestbay and Geestport enters service – first Geest ships under British flag
1960’s Network of ripening centres developed – Heathfield(Devon), Ardrie (Scotland), St Helens (Lancashire), Spalding (Lincs), Stansted (Essex), Burnham, Lingfield, Shenstone and Warminster (Wilts)
1961 First regular general cargo call for Geest to Barbados
1960 Geestland and Geeststar enters service – Geest’s first purpose built banana boats
1953 Charter of ships Windward Island and Leeward Islands bringing first shipment of bananas from Dominca to Preston then subsequent voyages to Preston and Liverpool
1953 Geest Industries (WI) Limited formed in St Lucia and first consignment of bananas shipped on the Golden Gate to London docks. Antilles Banana Company acquired.
1945 Geest enters shipping business across North Sea
1935 Geest horticultural business formed by the Van Geest brothers in Spalding, UK.

Did you know?

The largest ever quantity of Bananas carried on one ship was 43,635,280