If you soon start feeling a blast of cold air blowing through Charleston, it’s probably a result of the expansion of the refrigerated cargo business in the area. Three firms (Agro Merchants, Lineage Logistics, and New Orleans Cold Storage) have invested in or are expanding their cold storage capabilities to meet the increasing worldwide demands for more protein. As standards of living rise around the globe, people demand better quality food and refrigeration is a key component.
Refrigerated warehouse space is limited in the Charleston region and efforts are underway to increase the capacity. The State Ports Authority (SPA) has been very proactive in bolstering the cold storage market share in this ultra-competitive business.
Investments to upgrade the infrastructure at the cargo terminals have been underway for years and chilled warehouse space is essential to this pursuit. The Savannah and Port Everglades, FL ports now dominate the Southeast refrigerated cargo market, however SPA officials are intent on boosting its export/import handling of containers.
One distinction the Charleston port has over Savannah is a 5 foot draft advantage due to its deeper harbor. This is especially advantageous as refrigerated containers are traditionally heavier than other containers and they require a deepwater port such as Charleston which is able to accommodate ships with a 48 foot draft. With the upcoming widening of the Panama Canal allowing jumbo “Panamax” ships passage to Charleston, the opportunity to expand cold storage is imminent.
With the heat index hovering around 110 degrees lately, the gusts of frigid air cannot come too soon!