A new Georgia-based company called PortFresh Logistics has announced plans to build a 100,000-square-foot cold treatment facility dedicated to perishable cargoes imported through the Port of Savannah. The facility, slated to open in late summer 2016, will strengthen Savannah in its role as a new entry point for South American produce.
“We are proud to welcome PortFresh Logistics to the community of service providers supporting customers at the Port of Savannah,” said Griff Lynch, Georgia Ports Authority incoming executive director. “Perishable foods are an important growth sector for the GPA.”
Brian Kastick, chief executive officer of PortFresh Logistics, said the company has been working for more than two years to meet the need for additional chilled cargo infrastructure in Savannah.
“Currently, more than 90% of imported fruits and vegetables entering the US East Coast arrive via Northeast ports,” Kastick said. “That means cargo headed to the Southeast must be trucked down, adding time and expense to the logistics supply chain.”
Thanks to a new US Department of Agriculture program allowing South American citrus fruit, grapes, blueberries, and other produce items to enter via the Port of Savannah, substantial cost savings are now available to customers across the Southeast and beyond.
PortFresh’s state-of-the-art cold storage facility, on 20 acres of a 182-acre site, is specifically designed to allow multiple climate zones. Engineered to maintain cold chain integrity, the facility will ensure delivery of fresh, safe produce from the port to the customer.
This facility will handle both import and export cargo. The building will be located right off Interstate 16 on Old River Road in Effingham County, seven miles from I-95 and 15 miles from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.
“This project will create 40 full-time jobs when it opens in the third quarter of 2016 and more than 75 full-time jobs by the fourth year of operation,” said John Henry, CEO of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority. “It will also help Effingham County open a new section of the Coastline site (160-plus acres) to the market, and it will create an immediate attraction for other companies on the site adjacent to Interstate 16.”
Henry said PortFresh Logistics will contribute $1.5 million annually in local taxes and nearly $5 million total in local, state, and payroll taxes. The development has been made possible, in part, by a $400,000 OneGeorgia grant to the Effingham IDA to help cover the cost of laying water and sewer lines to the area of the site. OneGeorgia Equity seeks to fund projects that increase capacity and economic vitality in rural Georgia. This program is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
For more information, see www.gaports.com.