ATLANTA – Americold Realty Trust has acquired privately-held PortFresh Holdings, LLC, a temperature-controlled operator serving the fresh produce trade primarily through the Port of Savannah.
In connection with its acquisition of PortFresh, Americold plans to build a new 15 million cubic foot state-of-the-art cold storage facility on adjacent land owned by PortFresh.
The total cost of the acquisition, including approximately 163 acres of contiguous land, is approximately US$35 million. The cost of the planned new build is expected to be between $55 to $65 million. Americold funded the acquisition with cash on hand and expects to fund the development from available capital resources.
“The Port of Savannah is one of the fastest growing ports in the United States and has seen increased traffic of temperature-controlled trade,” said Fred Boehler, president and CEO of Americold Realty Trust.
“With this investment, Americold is fulfilling our customers’ requests to expand into this growing market, which provides an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet their import and export needs. We believe this development project represents a significant long term growth opportunity for the company, as we continue to grow our scale and develop our partnership with the Port of Savannah,”
The planned new facility will feature 37,000 pallet positions, advanced blast freezing capabilities, and space and infrastructure to support refrigerated-containerized trade.
Americold expects to begin construction on the new facility in the first half of 2019, with the opening expected to be in the first quarter of 2020.
The Port of Savannah imported 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo in 2017, a 10.6% increase over 2016, making it the fourth-largest port in the U.S. It continues to expand and has a stated strategy to double its storage capacity with its partners in the next 10 years.
“The Georgia Ports Authority is pleased to welcome Americold to the Savannah market,” said GPA executive director Griff Lynch.
“This announcement represents yet another expansion of Savannah’s position as a hub for the handling of cold and chilled cargoes, and complements the port’s continued on-terminal development of refrigerated cargo infrastructure.”