Elders & Fyffes specialised in the banana trade. They were the first company to build ships especially for bananas, with refrigerated holds for the unripe fruit. Their elegant 'white ships' were regular visitors to Avonmouth every six weeks from 1902 until 1969. They took up to 70 passengers each way. They carried almost no cargo outward, but brought back about 180,000 bunches of bananas.

The Bayano was built on Clydeside in 1917 as a passenger cargo ship, though she saw active service carrying supplies in both World Wars. Between the wars she made 228 voyages carrying bananas, before being scrapped in 1956.