New Cold Storage Facility brings more than 100 new jobs to Port of Wilmington

Published: Jun. 2, 2015 at 10:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM EDT
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A look at what the new facility will look like. (Source: WECT)
A look at what the new facility will look like. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A new 101,000 square-foot cold storage facility will be coming to the terminal at the Port of Wilmington. It is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.

The North Carolina State Ports Authority, along with USA InvestCo and Governor Pat McCrory broke ground on the new facility Tuesday.

"North Carolina is a major hub for global exportation of refrigerated pork and poultry products and a major player in the protein production export business, by utilizing this newly created cold storage facility, protein producers will be able to save a substantial amount on transportation costs to ship to their existing markets abroad. Having access to this facility will reduce spoilage, and increase delivery/export times for our customers and businesses in North Carolina," Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Cozza said.

Cozza said it will also help increase the capacity the Port of Wilmington has for refrigerated exports and imports, like seafood, fruits and vegetables.

"We are able to handle some of these containers now and we do refrigerated business we are exporting, but what happens is it gives us more capacity and that is warehouse capacity that is great for moving product," Cozza explained. "As you can imagine it is good to maybe have the product coming off the farms but where does it stay? Where does it stage for vessels? That is what [the new cold storage facility] is able to do here."

"Immediately when I found out we don't have a cold storage facility here, refrigeration, at our largest port, I went, you have got to be kidding," Gov. Pat McCrory said before the groundbreaking.

McCrory said when he was told USA InvestCo wanted to build the facility at the Port of Wilmington he said, "Lets make it happen now. There is no excuse that we are reacting, especially to an industry that is one of our most important industries in North Carolina - that is agriculture. If we have no way to export agriculture, then we are not going to continue to grow the agriculture industry."

Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in the next two to three weeks and be completed by next February.

"The Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility will add the missing link in the global cold storage chain for Port of Wilmington," said Chuck McCarthy, President & CEO Port of Wilmington Cold Storage. "By providing a facility which will offer services of cold and frozen storage, blast freezing, and the loading and unloading of export and import products from North Carolina and around the world."

The $15 million project is funded by private partnerships, not taxpayer dollars.

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