New cold storage facility aims to increase trade of frozen food at Port of Savannah

New cold storage facility aims to increase trade of frozen food at Port of Savannah

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A new cold storage facility is coming to Effingham County in hopes of increasing trade of fresh and frozen food through the Port of Savannah.

Americold, an operator of temperature-controlled infrastructure, broke ground on a new cold storage facility on Tuesday. It’s expected to bring jobs and commerce to the greater Savannah area.

Construction has already started on the new facility on Old River Road close to Interstate 16, which we know is an important factor. Companies want to make sure they’re close to the interstates so they can get their goods moving. It is also close to the Port of Savannah, which is also a big part of this project.

“The expansion that we’re doing here will create about 70 to 80 jobs. This is a 290,000 square foot building, so very substantial size, and it’s right on the heels of Americold acquiring PortFresh last year, which has 100 jobs,” said Fred Boehler, President and CEO, Americold.

According to Americold, the Port of Savannah is one of the busiest ports around, and they hope to make it even busier by bringing in more fresh produce through the Savannah River. Americold says this new facility will employ 79 full and part-time associates.

Boehler says the facility should be up and running by the end of next year’s first quarter, which means they’ll be hiring for all those positions probably around February 2020.

“It is a higher-paying labor position, and then obviously we have refrigeration experts, maintenance, mechanics - all those specialized jobs which command higher salaries, and then of course the management that goes with the operation, so it’s a great job creation opportunity," he said.

Boehler says most of of the new hires will be local.

According to a Georgia Southern University professor of economics, these jobs are good for the area.

The economics professor says it’s important to make sure that a port has all types of the products of coming through it. He says there are always changes and trends in consumption, and you don’t want any of those changes having a big impact to your port.

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