The Port of Savannah is Georgia’s gateway to the world—a critical conduit moving products to and from destinations around the globe. As the largest single-terminal container facility of its kind in North America and the third fastest-growing port in the nation, Savannah wanted infrastructure partners and investment to strengthen cold chain capabilities for those in the perishable supply chain.
BRINGING COOL TO THE COAST
Prior to 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not allow imports of perishable foods through the South Georgia port because it lacked plans and infrastructure to manage the Mediterranean fruit fly - the fruit fly has the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other pathogens. As a result, chilled fruit and vegetable imports to the United States were restricted to three regions: South Florida, Philadelphia/New York, and Los Angeles/Long Beach. Consequently, 95 percent of the imported fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. East Coast came through Northeast ports. End customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast had to ensure additional trucking timelines in order for the products to arrive on their doorsteps.
In 2015, the USDA allowed the Port of Savannah to serve as a new entry point for since new cold-treatment capabilities for produce materialized. This began to increase the traffic of frozen and temperature-controlled fruits, vegetables, proteins and other products directly to the Southeast port.
Americold's first facility, just down the road from the port in Bloomingdale, GA, and originally named PortFresh, offered cold treatment for products but volumes increased and additional investment in infrastructure and technology was needed. Americold responded by building a new 15-million-cubic-foot, state-of-the-art cold storage facility on it's Savannah campus - the facility opened in 2020.
According to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), “speed to market and the cost of overland transit have been traditional challenges” for chilled cargo importers aiming to serve the Southeast. New facilities, like the Americold campus, enable faster, more efficient distribution channels for fresh and frozen food products.
Americold's port facilities are dedicated to supporting the international fruit and vegetable supply chain with a full suite of value-added services to cold-treat, unpack, ripen, grade, repack, and transport products being imported or exported. We can support the unique environments and conditions necessary to keep fruits and vegetables in peak condition, which means higher quality product on store shelves, and greater return on your investment. Learn more about our storage, port, and transportation capabilities by speaking with our team today or requesting more information.
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