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Running on Ice: Georgia expanding cold storage capacity

Hello, and welcome to the coolest community in freight! Here you’ll find the latest information on warehouse news, tech developments and all things reefer madness-related. I’m your controller of the thermostat, Mary O’Connell. Thanks for having me!

All thawed out

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Port of Savannah has seen what Jaxport has done in relation to cold storage and is coming for it. Not actually, but the Georgia Ports Authority is increasing its chilled cargo capacity. As we touched on in previous editions of Running on Ice, the demand for reefer containers is anticipated to rise dramatically over the next 10 years, meaning infrastructure at the ports has to match that demand. 

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) approved construction of seven additional refrigerated container racks for a casual $6.2 million. The new construction will add 368 refrigerated container plugs. Savannah sees just about anything and everything come through the ports that are temperature controlled. Poultry, fruit, vegetables, fish, you name it, Savannah knows how to handle it. 

Joel Wooten, chairman of the GPA board, said, “Serving the U.S. Southeast via Savannah reduces overland transportation costs to vital markets such as Atlanta and ensures perishable goods reach customers faster and fresher. The growing population of our region, combined with expansions in port and private infrastructure are strengthening Savannah’s position as a perishable supply chain gateway.”

Temperature checks

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Big things are coming to the retail grocery industry. Warehouse automation provider stow Robotics has formed an alliance with Phononic, a solid-state cooling tech provider. This alliance gives the power back to the grocery retailers to get automated solutions for some of the more common problems plaguing grocery fulfillment centers. The best part of this is that Phononic’s solid-state cooling uses a safe and sustainable refrigerant. According to a Progressive Grocer article, Phononic’s method behind the solid-state cooling tech produces the safest and lowest global-warming potential in the industry. 

As labor issues continue to be front and center this year, the ability to do more with the resources you have means that more and more automation will be crucial to warehousing and fulfillment operations running efficiently.

Brian Keiger, director of business development and marketing at stow Robotics, said, “We have a unique technology that fits nicely in the gap between other automation solutions in the market for customers at a specific point in their journey, and our strict adherence to standard components and modular deployments allows our innovative e.Scala solution to be installed and commissioned quickly, resulting in an accelerated return on investment.”

Food and drugs

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Amazon is in the news again. This time it’s with Amazon Fresh. Amazon’s take on grocery stores has temporarily been paused until it gets the right plan for moving forward. This division of Amazon has been a little less than profitable. The all-in approach didn’t pan out as it previously abandoned the Amazon bookstores to focus on groceries.    

Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, said, “Retail is a tough business. They are flushing money down a toilet pursuing Amazon Fresh stores” and thinking “they can brand a new concept and capture share from retailers who have been successful for decades.”

The future of grocery isn’t just a box store anymore. The rise of grocery delivery, online ordering and consumer preferences has changed the grocery store landscape as we know it. 

Cold chain lanes


The northern half of the country may be used to cold weather, but Dallas is not one of those places. The beginning of the week brought the mother of all ice storms to Dallas, essentially shutting down the city and freight for a few days. As a result, outbound tender rejections have risen nearly 2% week over week and show no sign of stopping. Some carriers might have found themselves trapped with the sudden ice storm, whereas others have just chosen to avoid it altogether. Rates will be a little unpredictable in this market as it corrects from missing the first half of the week. Outbound tender rejections are likely to fall in the beginning of next week as the market corrects.

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Shelf life

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US seafood importers battle 10% cold storage space shortfall

Wine grape harvest in full swing

Tough road ahead seen for C.H. Robinson after 4th-quarter disappointment 

OK with the change in management? Shoot me an email with comments, questions or story ideas at [email protected]

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