North Carolina Ports opens new refrigerated container yard

Stacked containers in a shipping terminal

The North Carolina State Ports Authority has completed a new refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington.

The project boosts the port’s on-terminal refrigerated container (reefer) plugs from 235 to 775 with the ability to expand to more than 1,000 plugs through Phase 2 of the project.

“North Carolina Ports has become a critical gateway for the movement of refrigerated cargoes. The completion of the refrigerated container yard allows NC Ports to better support the growing agriculture and grocery sectors across North Carolina and the entire southeastern United States,” said Paul J. Cozza, North Carolina Ports Executive Director.

The $14 million construction project includes a new reefer service area as well as 27 reefer racks to support the stacking of refrigerated containers.

The new yard is positioned near the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage. The location consolidates all refrigerated cargo into one area which helps enhance the port’s efficiency when moving perishable goods.

The opening of the reefer yard comes as North Carolina Ports is experiencing unprecedented growth in the cold chain sector.

Refrigerated container volume through the Port of Wilmington quadrupled from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2019. FY20 year-to-date volumes have been trending up 30 percent as both export and import demand continues to grow. While the latest projections are dynamic, NC Ports is more equipped than ever to handle refrigerated cargo.

This project is another key component of NC Ports’ more than $200 million capital improvements plan aimed at modernizing and enhancing efficiency at the Port of Wilmington. Infrastructure improvements include an overhaul of Wilmington’s container terminal and new terminal and gate operating systems.

The terminal renovations will double the Port of Wilmington’s annual throughput capacity to 1.2 million TEUs and feature a new container gate complex with increased lanes for inbound and outbound truck traffic.

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