The North Carolina Council of State Tuesday voted to approve a lease that gives the go-ahead to a public-private partnership seeking to construct a cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington.
The partnership between the North Carolina State Ports Authority and USA Investco is expected to create a state-of-the-art cold storage facility for near-vessel storage of fruits and vegetables, meats and other agriculture products, both imports and exports.
The project is contingent upon the award of state and local incentives. Plans call for a 75,000-square-foot facility, expandable to 300,000 square feet, at an initial investment of $13 million.
The North Carolina ports authority said the facility "is expected to generate substantial savings to the state’s agriculture industry by reducing logistics costs to and from ports and enable North Carolina farmers to use the state’s ports, as opposed to neighboring facilities in Norfolk, Va., Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.
“North Carolina exports more than $3 billion worth of agricultural products each year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, in a statement. “Upgrades to the Port at Wilmington will help our farmers and agribusinesses boost that number even higher. The cold storage facility is a vital piece of infrastructure that our producers have needed for a long time, and I’m happy that a public-private partnership will be able to make it a reality.”
It is not yet determined who will operate the facility, which is expected to be used by a variety of customers. - Chris Dupin