MTC is investing about $61 million in the facility, which will create 50 to 70 direct jobs.
The facility is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2020 and MTC said it will provide shippers with a comprehensive suite of services, including blast freezing, port drayage and less-than-trailer-load consolidation. MTC will expand the seaport’s blast freeze capability by accommodating 30 truckloads per day and providing 40,000 racked pallet positions of storage.
Andy Janson, president of MTC, said his company was excited about expanding into the Southeast and the growth opportunity the new facility represents, saying it would put it on the “cutting edge of innovation in areas of refrigeration, material handling, IT systems, while providing best-in-class customer service.”
MTC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoffberger Holdings Inc., a diversified privately held investment company of the Hoffberger family of Baltimore. When the new facility is completed, MTC will operate four distribution centers with more than 40 million cubic feet of refrigerated and frozen space, serving the ports of Mobile, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.
The port authority worked with Alabama economic development officials to recruit MTC.
Seaonus Refrigerated-Mobile, part of Patriot Rail and Ports, offers refrigerated warehousing and blast freezing in the port, but the MTC facility “will more than quadruple available capacity for our export poultry producers, as well as attract new shippers,” said Lyons. The terminal also will handle a wide variety of refrigerated products for retail distribution.
James K. Lyons, the chief executive officer of the Port of Mobile, said the port has wanted to expand its ability to handle frozen and refrigerated cargo space because Alabama is such an important poultry producer, the second largest in the nation.
According to the National Chicken Council, Alabama produced 1,123,700 head of chicken in 2018, just behind Georgia’s 1,361,400 head. Some processors in western Georgia, Mississippi (the fifth-largest poultry-producing state) and the Florida panhandle also ship poultry through Mobile, said Lyons.
Mobile handles about 200,000 tons of poultry annually, about half of which is containerized and half of which moves in breakbulk or conventional reefer ships. While refrigerated containers have been steadily taking away market share from the operators of conventional reefer ships, Cuba and West Africa are common destinations for the chicken moving in breakbulk reefer ships from Mobile, said Lyons.
The facility will be located outside the gates of the seaport’s container terminal with immediate access to Interstate 10 and will be the first in a logistics park the port is developing.
Ernie Ferguson, vice president of sales for MTC Logistics, said, “This strategic location on the U.S. Gulf Coast will allow us to expand our service offering and we will have a significant focus on import cargo to help balance refrigerated container supply in Mobile.”