Third-party food logistics company FreezPak Logistics has announced plans to build a 140,000-square-foot facility near Port Elizabeth in New Jersey.
The Carteret, New Jersey-based company said its fifth location, located approximately five miles from the Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal, will be its first with an automated storage and retrieval system. The plans announced in a press release Monday call for the location to be outfitted with 12 robots, which can automatically store and retrieve goods.
The company said the site was chosen in part due to permitting provisions, which allow a building height of 75 feet. The new facility will be the tallest distribution center in New Jersey, providing 10.5 million cubic feet of space, 18 docks and 30,000 pallet positions, offering same-day order fulfillment.
“FreezPak is committed to speeding up the distribution process and cutting lead times for all of our clients,” said Co-CEO Michael Saoud.
The press release said the increased building height and automation will lead to improved return on investment. Many new cold storage facilities are being designed with higher ceilings to maximize space by racking pallets vertically.
The cold chain has seen significant activity of late as consumers purchase more grocery and food products online. Lineage Logistics, the largest operator in the space, recently announced a $1.6 billion equity raise for facility acquisitions and investments in technology and automation. That announcement followed a slew of deals Lineage has completed in the cold storage market since 2019. The largest publicly traded cold chain real estate investment trust, Americold Realty Trust (NYSE: COLD), has closed on a few large deals as well.
According to a recent cold storage report from JLL Inc. (NYSE: JLL), online grocery sales are expected to grow 40% in 2020, following a 22% increase last year. The firm expects cold storage space to hit 250 million square feet, or 1.8% of all U.S. warehousing space.
Founded in 2001, family-owned FreezPak Logistics’ temperature-controlled warehouses are located in New Jersey, offering inspection, repackaging and storage services. The company provides truckload, less-than-truckload and port drayage transportation of refrigerated and dry goods with service in the 48 continental states.
The Elizabeth facility is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2021. FreezPak expects to announce plans for a sixth site soon to meet “continually growing demand for cold storage space.”
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