Driving Efficiencies in the Cold Supply Chain

Reducing inventories and tightening delivery cycle times create ongoing challenges for PRW and cold transport providers.

That investment is evident on two levels: technology and infrastructure. Nordic made a multimillion investment in its information technology (IT) support services by acquiring Red Prairie, a warehouse management system (WMS), and developing labor management and transportation management systems.

Nordic has 13 distribution centers throughout the Southeast. Two-thirds of its business is grocery retail and one-third foodservice, and among its customer base are chicken and turkey producers. These companies account for considerable volume for both retail and foodservice customers, but they also have a significant export business.

Much of that export business is handled through ports in New Orleans and Wilmington, NC. Noting the number of major poultry processors in the Carolinas and Virginia, Nordic has opened a facility in Wilmington, NC, to further support that business and the import-export needs of other customers.

The Port of Wilmington has good potential for business growth for Nordic as “it is picking up considerable business because of the congestion in other, more established ports,” says Schoenl.

Energy costs and sustainability are also driving change in the PRW industry.

“Green is still big and still comes with a price,” says Hudson. “New energy efficient technologies usually come with an ROI of 18 months or less. We are seeing energy savings come from lights, battery systems, doors and new technologies on refrigeration systems.”

“Energy is our second highest cost with labor being the highest,” says VersaCold’s Kappmeier. “We have made improvements throughout all of our facilities from simple things like door management to new, high-efficiency lighting systems and high-efficiency refrigeration systems.

“Overall, we avoided kilowatt hours by 22 million and were able to offset to a great extent the more frequent and high utility rate increase suffered in 2008,” he says. This was particularly significant as energy costs had increased, in some areas, 30 percent last year.

1. AmeriCold Logistics LLC 509,619,658
2. VersaCold Group (an Eimskip company) 414,395,998
3. Millard Refrigerated Services 275,000,000
4. Preferred Freezer Services 186,250,625
5. United States Cold Storage 161,792,447
6. Burris Refrigerated Logistics 72,396,960
7. Interstate Warehousing Inc. 68,402,968
8. Nordic Cold Storage LLC 60,143,000
9. Inland Cold Storage 57,461,576
10. Cloverleaf Cold Storage Co. 52,231,973
11. Total Logistic Control LLC 49,003,066
12. Columbia Colstor Inc. 47,600,000
13. Richmond Cold Storage Co. 44,657,281
14. Henningsen Cold Storage Co. 42,589,635
15. Frialsa Frigorificos S.A. de C.V. 34,303,927
16. Hanson Logistics 32,496,430
17. Terminal Freezers Inc. 25,938,138
18. Confederation Freezers 25,630,000
19. Conestoga Cold Storage 25,610,000
20. Congbec Logistics Inc. 23,850,000
Total North American Top 20 Space 2,209,373,682
Source: International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), Alexandria, VA.  

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