The port claims the operation is the largest blast-freeze operation in the Northern Hemisphere.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, along with members of the Port of New Orleans’ board of commissioners, has dedicated a new $40.3 million riverfront cold storage facility at the Henry Clay Avenue Wharf.
The owner of the facility is New Orleans Cold Storage (NOCS), the oldest cold storage company in North America. The 140,000-square-foot plant is an expansion to the company’s New Orleans operations, while adding new capacity on the Mississippi River to existing facilities located along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal.
NOCS operates four facilities with more than 12 million cubic feet of refrigerated space in New Orleans, Houston and Charleston, S.C.
In a statement, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says the new facility will provide opportunities to farmers in every corner of the state.
“With Louisiana being a major producer of poultry, the expansion of New Orleans Cold Storage will keep Louisiana products fresher and ready for market,” Strain says. “From an economic standpoint, this terminal provides jobs to our residents working at the facility, benefits our poultry industry valued at more than $1.6 billion and helps to grow our ports. With agriculture being one of the largest industries in Louisiana, we will continue to support our farmers and the industry that feeds our people.”
The former 50-year-old dockside transit shed at Henry Clay was demolished and the substructure strengthened in preparation for the new facility. The berths were stabilized and dredged to a minimum 35-foot draft. The warehouse incorporates energy-saving technology and operational efficiencies. The highly technical refrigeration processes can freeze up to 1.25 million pounds of product daily and store 38 million pounds of frozen goods between -15 and 40 degrees F, making it the largest blast-freeze operation in the Northern Hemisphere. There are two break bulk vessel berths at the Henry Clay dockside facility, with direct access to the global vessel trade via the Mississippi River.
The Port of New Orleans says in addition to break bulk access, the close proximity to the port’s Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal will create additional efficiencies for the growing refrigerated container trade. Henry Clay also has direct access to rail, with switch services by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, giving NOCS and its customers access to the North American rail network via the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern and CSX railroads.
The terminal is the first design-build project the port has implemented. The board authorized its first design-build ordinance in 2009 and awarded the contract in May of 2010 to McDonnel-Primus Joint Venture of Metairie, La. The project’s investment for all improvements totaled $40.3 million, of which $35.13 million went to the construction of the facility. Louisiana’s Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit provided $23.5 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds with the remaining funds coming from the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. The Port of New Orleans, which is a state agency, owns the terminal and leases it to New Orleans Cold Storage to operate.