The once-lowly potato is getting a lift into the world of high-speed international logistics through the Port of Halifax.
“Frozen french fries are being shipped to growth markets like India and Japan. It’s not just about raw potatoes anymore,” Patrick Bohan, business development manager with the Halifax Port Authority, told The Chronicle Herald in an article last week.
Port officials are in Charlottetown at the International Potato Technology Expo this weekend promoting metro Halifax’s cold-chain facilities.
For generations, potato boats have visited Prince Edward Island, picking up big loads of raw product for destinations as far away as Russia. However, in the fast-food era, modern logistics has stepped in with refrigerated containers capable of bringing frozen product to markets of varying sizes just about anywhere in the world.
“Customers now can order a single container load if that is what they require,” Bohan said.
The agri-food export industry already contributes significantly to the economic output of Atlantic Canada, but huge developments in this sector are anticipated in the coming decade.
The Port of Halifax has 1,000 electrical outlets for refrigerated containers at two container terminals for shipments of perishable goods.
They also recently built a $9.5-million cold-storage facility in Dartmouth opened last year by Nova Cold Consolidated Ltd. The complex can house 5,500 pallets, enough to fill 250 shipping containers, and expansion plans are already in the works.
“We see opportunities for not just the potato industry, but food producers of all types,” Bohan said.
About 5,000 containers of potato product are exported through the port each year. Other agri-products moved through the port include soybeans and wheat, both bulk and containerized.
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