Cold storage demand prompting new facilities in US southeast

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by Emily Atkins

A surge in demand for cold storage is prompting a boom in the development of temperature-controlled facilities in the US southeast.

In January, Flexcold announced the development of a new warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina and the expansion of its facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The company will be adding 30,000 pallet spaces in Charleston, and expanding the Florida building to 350,000 square feet.

In addition, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced it is spending over US$6 million building seven new refrigerated container racks at its Garden City terminal. The port said the expansion of cold storage facilities in the region is partly behind the decision, which boosts its capacity to more than 3,500 plugs. Private chilled and frozen warehouse space in Savannah is set to grow by 11 percent in 2023 to more than 2.2 million square feet.

“Expansion among our cold storage partners in the Savannah market will drive greater volumes of chilled cargo crossing our docks,” said GPA executive director Griff Lynch.
“While the Port of Savannah already accommodates the most refrigerated containers on the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts, enhancing our on-terminal capacity will better support the jobs and opportunity sparked by private investment.”
Meanwhile, Flexcold’s Charleston building represents a $50 million total investment for the company. It will be located within 30 minutes of the Port of Charleston, and focus on imports and exports of seafood. It will be operational in late summer 2024, the company said.
Flexcold’s Jacksonville facility is its first, and it located five kilometres from the port. Construction is set to commence in the first quarter of 2023, with completion estimated to be in summer 2024. The company said the expansion will serve growing import and export demand, and allow it to consolidate services in a single location to minimize product movements and touches to reduce costs and damage.

“The investments that have been made in our port provide the capabilities for our region to efficiently accommodate growing consumer demand for fresh and frozen foods, including poultry and seafood,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green.

“We are thrilled that FlexCold continues to grow their business in Jacksonville, attracting new cargo business and the jobs and economic impact it supports to our city and state.”

With its opening in late summer 2022, the company offered more than 150,000 square feet of space. The newest expansion more than doubles the overall building footprint to more than 350,000 square feet, bringing the total number of pallet positions to 55,000, up from the initial 25,000.