Focus on expansion

The oldest cold storage company in North America has opened a massive, new 142,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse at the Port of New. This expansion for the 126-year-old New Orleans Cold Storage (NOCS), one of the largest suppliers to the poultry, beef, pork and other exporters in the country, adds 125 direct new jobs and generates $126 million in annual spending.

The new Henry Clay facility can store 38 million pounds of perishable products and can freeze up to 1.25 million pounds of fresh product each day. Operations at the new terminal include blast freezing, handling, warehousing and stevedoring – the loading and unloading of vessels – of export poultry and beef products. The building was constructed with the latest environmentally friendly technology to cut down on energy expenses and increase efficiency. It includes LED lighting, room to berth two ships, the ability to load perishable products into containers and transfer the cargo to the Port of New Orleans container terminal for ocean transport. The new Henry Clay Wharf location is so close to the Port of New Orleans Container Terminal, overall efficiency will increase because of their close proximity. “We have reached the end of a long road traveled since Hurricane Katrina, and we are poised for growth. The storm and subsequent closing of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet made it uncertain whether we could keep operations in New Orleans open,” said NOCS President and CEO Mark Blanchard. “But with the help of the State and The Port of New Orleans, we are expanding by opening our new, state-of-the art terminal at the Henry Clay Street Wharf.

NOCS is a premier logistics provider specializing in import and export services for food processors and distributors. Operating from three key port facilities on the southeast seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, NOCS offers a ‘one-stop’ export process, including transportation to the port, blast freezing and warehousing, certification and documentation. An equally seamless service streamlines inbound shipments destined for US markets. Since 1886, NOCS has been the door to the world for international food companies. The NOCS business model of market-specific facilities provides greater operating efficiency and professional expertise at the warehouse level. Such markets include the panhandle of Florida to the West Gulf Coast of Texas, Central and South America, the Pacific Basin, the Australian-New Zealand trade, the Peoples Republic of China, Africa and the eastern bloc countries and Russia.

New Orleans port becomes major cold storage hub
The Port of New Orleans is at the center of the world’s busiest port complex – Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi River. Its proximity to the American Midwest via a 14,500-mile inland waterway system, six Class One railroads and the interstate highway system makes it the port of choice for the movement of cargoes such as steel, rubber, coffee, containers and manufactured goods. In the past 10 years, the Port of New Orleans has invested more than $400 million in new, state-of-the-art facilities. The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans is committed to building a port that will serve the needs of the global marketplace well into the new century. “With Louisiana being a major producer of poultry, the expansion of N.O. Cold Storage will keep Louisiana products fresher and ready for market,” said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. “From an economic standpoint, this provides jobs to our residents working at the storage facility, keeps our poultry industry valued at more than $ 1.6 billion dollars and it benefits our ports.” Strain added, “With agriculture being one of the biggest industries in our state, we will continue to support our farmers and the industry that feeds our people.” The modern, dockside refrigerated terminal cost $40 million to design and build. Of that amount, $23.5 million came from a federal Community Development Block Grant that is part of Louisiana’s Disaster Recovery Program. The remaining $16.5 million in funding came from the Port of New Orleans, which owns the terminal and leases it to NOCS.

Successful partnership
The project was developed with the help of a partnership with Primus Builders, an engineering and construction management firm that provides the full range of design-build services including planning, budgeting, design and construction management. The firm services niche industries including food and beverage, distribution, and commercial/industrial. Primus provides a single-source responsibility approach that embraces each client’s goals and incorporates them into a single project agenda. The firm has been ranked as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies, one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Commercial Contractors, and was ranked on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s list of Best Places to Work. “Primus Builders was honored to be a part of the Henry Clay Terminal project. Our team worked alongside NOCS to provide innovative solutions to climate challenges, a flexible layout and sustainable elements that will serve the Port for years to come. To help revitalize the riverfront was an amazing opportunity,” said Primus Builders President and Founding Partner Richard O’Connell. The NOCS terminal is the first design-build project the Port has ever implemented. By staying within budget on a fast-tracked schedule with McDonnel/Primus Joint Venture (MPJV) and NOCS, the completed build is becoming an example of how other Louisiana ports may expand and build in the future. “Failure was not an option. We never gave up because we knew we had to build this terminal to retain cargo that is essential to the health of the Port of New Orleans,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “But this new terminal represents so much more than simply replicating the capacity we lost to Katrina. We’ve built stronger and smarter. Our investment will allow the Port of New Orleans and NOCS to grow its cargo volumes and offer unparalleled services to shippers.”