Gulf States Cold Storage moves into Port of Savannah

Gulf States Cold Storage moves into Port of Savannah

Gulf States Cold Storage has opened a 100,000-square-foot cold storage facility serving the Port of Savannah GA. The site is capable of blast freezing up to four million pounds of cargo per week.

This new facility, located less than 10 miles from the Port of Savannah, currently employs 25 people. John Dean, vice-president of sales and marketing, said Gulf States plans to add a second shift, boosting employment to 35-45 workers.

The cold storage area is maintained at -12 degrees F, while the blast cells reach as low as -35 degrees. Most of the cargo will be moved on racks; however, the facility also features a bulk staging area for transload operations. Gulf States already has plans for a dock extension and the addition of 85,000 square feet of frozen storage.

“With Gulf States already considering the expansion of warehouse space and adding a second shift, it’s obvious port customers need the cold storage capacity,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director for the Georgia Ports Authority.

Dean said the blast freezing site will serve only export customers for now, but the company is talking with potential customers to add imported vegetables, fruit, and seafood to its commodity portfolio.

Focused mainly on poultry exports, the majority of Gulf States cargo originates in Georgia, but the cold storage facility also handles cargo from North and South Carolina.

Gulf States’ new facility expands the company’s presence in the Southeast. The company operates peanut warehouses in Andalusia AL and Blakely GA, as well as freezing facilities in Americus and Columbus GA, Dothan AL, and Shreveport LA.

Supplied largely by Georgia farms, the Port of Savannah handles nearly 40% of the nation’s containerized poultry exports. Since 2006, refrigerated exports through the Port of Savannah have increased 130%. In 2012 alone, the GPA saw a 3.9% increase in refrigerated cargo exports, totaling nearly 108,000 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs).

“Right now, we have more demand for refrigerated warehousing than we have existing facilities. The GPA’s ongoing work to expand our on-terminal capacity for refrigerated cargo, along with private developments like Gulf States, will strengthen Georgia’s position in the marketplace,” said Foltz.

GPA’s Garden City Terminal currently has 85 refrigerated cargo racks, accommodating more than 2,000 containers at a time. More than 80 cold storage facilities in Georgia rely on the Port of Savannah, with a combined storage capacity greater than 16 million square feet.

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