N.C. Ports Increase Refrigerated Capacity as Perishable Demand Grows

N.C. Ports Increase Refrigerated Capacity as Perishable Demand Grows

A new record for refrigerated container volume has taken place at The North Carolina Ports Authority.

The organization reported ports moved 1,459 refrigerated containers — 2,918 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) — in April.

Even with the pandemic, N.C. ports continue to experience a “healthy flow” of refrigerated cargoes; the largest refrigerated import is bananas, according to a news release. Fiscal year 2020 (July-April) volumes are up 20 percent over the previous year, and annual growth from FY2014-19 is up 225 percent.

“It has long been North Carolina Ports’ goal to become one of the premier cold ports for shippers and these numbers are evidence of that mission,” Paul Cozza, executive director of North Carolina Ports, said in the release. “Additionally, our record-setting April highlights our expanding perishables portfolio as we have quadrupled refrigerated container volume over the last five years.”

The Port of Wilmington is seeing import and export demand increase during the pandemic.

“To support this growth, we are making the necessary investments to improve and expand our capabilities which in turn will benefit the North Carolina agriculture industry, the state’s grocery sector and additional cold chain users,” Hans C.E. Bean, North Carolina Ports chief commercial officer.

A new refrigerated container yard opened in April at the Port of Wilmington, a $14 million project that increased on-terminal refrigerated container plugs from 235 to 775.