Gulf States Cold Storage has announced a 55,000 square-foot expansion at its facility in Savannah, Georgia. Upon completion, scheduled for the end of January, there will be 20% more blast freezing capability and a 100% increase in storage space for poultry and other proteins.
John Dean, the company’s vice president of sales, noted the additional infrastructure will double storage capacity to 28 million pounds of frozen product.
“Currently, we are blasting around three million pounds a week,” he said. “With the expansion, we will be close to five million pounds a week. We will be adding a dock with five new doors, to go with the 18 doors already in use.”
In August of 2013 Gulf States Cold Storage opened a 100,000-square-foot facility in Savannah, less than 10 miles from the Georgia Port Authority’s (GPA’s) Garden City Terminal. The refrigerated area is maintained at -12°F, while the blast cells reach as low as -35°. Most of the cargo is moved on racks, however the site also features a bulk staging area for transload operations.
“We want to grow with the Port of Savannah, which can accommodate more than 2,000 refrigerated containers at a time,” Dean said. “I think it is very important for businesses such as ours to keep up with the capacity that can be handled through the port [its throughput amounted to 8% of the US containerized cargo volume and 10.9% of the country’s total containerized exports in 2013).”
Gulf States handles the export of poultry, beef, pork and seafood, as well as some frozen vegetables – a growing business segment. Dean said the company anticipates growth in frozen imports. Produce such as onions farmed in South America – which has an opposite growing season from the United States – are brought in through Savannah to supply the nation’s Southeast during the winter months. The GPA is also participating in a US Department of Agriculture pilot program bringing in South American citrus, grapes and blueberries.
“I think that imports are going to be a big part of our future,” Dean said. “With the demand for export boxes in Savannah, I think you will see more and more imports coming in through GPA.”
Along with the new space, Gulf States Cold Storage will be adding 12 to 14 jobs. The site currently employs 35 people.
In addition to the Savannah cold storage facility, the company operates peanut warehouses in Andalusia, Alabama, and Blakely, Georgia, as well as freezing facilities in Americus and Columbus, Georgia; Dothan, Alabama; and Shreveport, Louisiana.