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Equipment Focus: Transportation & storage

A finely tuned cold chain protects seafood on its way to market

June 01, 2006

Transporting fresh, frozen or live seafood products from source to 
distant buyer is a well-orchestrated feat. Timing and temperature control are key to maintaining product quality, necessitating fail-safe, refrigerated intermodal shipping on schedule. Along the way are USDC inspections to ensure seafood safety, and with imports, Customs regulations enter the picture. Helping to move 
seafood through the cold chain are many skilled players, from truck-body manufacturers, to airliners and ocean carriers to 
refrigerated warehousing and logistcs providers. Here's a 
sampling of companies that make it all happen.

Alaska Airlines speeds seafood to Lower 48

Alaska Airlines operates the most extensive air-cargo operation on the West Coast, transporting more than 150 million pounds of cargo annually to cities throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. This year, the airline will carry more than 30 million pounds of Alaska seafood to market, up from 26 million pounds in 2005.

Shipments within the continental United States often reach their destination within 24 hours, thanks to the carrier's streamlined flight schedules and state-of-the-art storage facilities.

In response to the growing demand for Alaska seafood, the airline is increasing cargo capacity by more than 50 percent. A $15 million retrofit for five 737-400 aircrafts should be complete in 2007.

In May, Alaska Airlines delivered the season's first shipments of Copper River salmon to Seattle aboard flights chartered by seafood companies. Last year, the carrier transported more than a million pounds of prized Copper River salmon.

As a tribute to its relationship with Alaska's seafood industry, last October the airline introduced the "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon," a Boeing 737-400 with the image of an Alaska king salmon painted along its 120-foot length.


Alaska Airlines


(800) 225-2752



AmeriCold links 
nation's supply chain

AmeriCold is the United States' leading third-party provider of supply-chain solutions in the consumer packaged-goods industry, with 100 facilities nationwide. The company handles 60 billion pounds of freight annually, boasts more than a half-billion cubic feet of multi-temperature storage capacity and employs some 6,500 associates.

More than 3,000 companies - from food processors to foodservice distributors to retailers - use Americold's integrated services, which include the industry's only national warehouse and transportation network.

AmeriCold offers multi-vendor consolidation, temperature-controlled warehousing, transportation services, national LTL transportation, i-3PL™ technology delivering real-time, online information on orders, inventory and load status, seasonal product storage and distribution, dedicated facility management and supply chain optimization.

In response to growing customer demand for frozen storage in the Southeast, AmeriCold this spring added two blast-freezer cells and new storage racks to its Columbia, S.C., facility, doubled the size of its Albertville, Ala., warehouse to 4.9 million cubic feet and created 4,400 new pallet positions in its West Point, Miss., freezer warehouse.




(888) 808-4877



Araho runs full-service warehouse in Boston

Araho Transfer, located on the Boston waterfront between the World Trade Center and the Design Center, is a third-party handler of fresh seafood with easy access to Logan International Airport and major highways. This fourth-generation New England company offers Customs clearance services, an integrated warehouse management system, order picking, repacking, quality control and transportation along the eastern seaboard as well as direct delivery between its Boston and Miami locations.

The company operates 20,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space with dedicated sections for refrigerated or dry goods and offers refrigerated truck service to the airport, cold storage or the customer's door.

To ensure quality control of seafood shipments, Araho staff are HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) trained and adherent, and USDC quality inspections can be performed on site. Experienced re-packers also help monitor quality. Personnel are skilled in seafood safety, quality and logistics, and a full-time information-technology specialist is on staff.


Araho Transfer


(617) 790-3092


Electric standby from Carrier Transicold

Carrier Transicold provides temperature-control equipment for refrigerated trucks, trailers, containers and rail cars. The company is a world leader in container refrigeration, with regional offices on five continents and more than 600 container service centers worldwide.

In April, Carrier Transicold rolled out the Vector 1800MT multi-temperature trailer refrigeration unit to help offset the rising cost of diesel fuel. Featuring patented Deltek™ hybrid diesel-electric technology, it is the first transport refrigeration unit with built-in 460-volt electric standby, which allows a parked unit to be plugged into an AC power source, eliminating the need to run the diesel motor.

Electric standby conserves diesel fuel, reduces engine wear, eliminates emissions from the refrigeration unit, eliminates engine noise during loading and unloading and complies with diesel-emission regulations. Electric standby reportedly reduces operating costs by more than 50 percent. Matched with Carrier single- and dual-discharge evaporators, the Vector 1800MT offers 11 different trailer configurations. Late last year, Carrier introduced three new diesel-powered truck refrigeration units: the Supra 650, 750 and 850 units for medium-sized to large refrigerated trucks. The Supra line is designed for quiet operation and easy maintenance, and all units have an electric standby motor option.

Carrier Transicold is a business unit of Carrier Corp., headquartered in Farmington, Conn.


Carrier Transicold

Athens, Ga.

(706) 357-7279



HPL maintains 
complete cold chain

Hellmann Perishable Logistics, a global, multimodal freight forwarder, is 100 percent committed to the perishables industry. The company is a division of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, founded in 1871 by Carl Heinrich Hellmann in Osnabrück, Germany. It has 41 offices in 19 countries and 500 

HPL is headquartered in Miami, the main U.S. port of entry for perishables, accounting for 69 percent of all perishables imports in 2004 and 66 percent of fresh fish imports. The company's other U.S. office is in Los Angeles, which is the second-largest entry port for seafood at 11.1 percent.

The Miami facility contains 2,960 square feet of seafood freezer space, 7,700 square feet of seafood cool storage and 9,050 square feet of seafood-related working area.

HPL says it's the "only perishables forwarder that maintains a complete cold chain" for door-to-door delivery. Its services include air, sea and land transport, computerized inventories, nationwide Customs brokerage, distribution services, In­ternet tracking and tracing, labeling, quality control, re-icing and re-packing, refrigerated storage and refrigerated trucking. HPL also handles all government requirements on imported goods as well as inventory control and distribution reports.

The company offers daily LTL service to Northeast destinations from Miami and daily FTL service to and from all U.S. points.


Hellmann Perishable Logistics


(305) 406-4574


Cold-plate technology 
sets Johnson apart

Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies, in business since 1932, is the only manufacturer of molded-fiberglass refrigerated truck bodies from 6 to 36 feet long. The durable bodies can be customized for fresh or frozen seafood delivery and have been known to last 15 or more years on multiple chassis.

Johnson is also an innovator in cold-plate transport technology. A Johnson truck body utilizing cold-plate refrigeration reportedly reduces operating costs by 80 percent over a mechanical-blower refrigeration system.

Cold-plate technology is not only cost effective but is also the most reliable refrigerated transportation method available, protecting product for up to two days in the event of a truck breakdown; mechanical blower units often preserve product for just two hours.

Built from the ground up, rather than as retrofits, Johnson molded-fiberglass bodies are ideal for seafood-transport applications because the seamless fiberglass roof and wall panels are impervious to moisture and easy to clean.

And the void-free, 2.1-pound-density urethane insulation provides the highest thermal-efficiency R-values in the industry.


Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies

Rice Lake, Wis.

(800) 922-8360



OOCL ships seafood in 'Perfect Climate'

Orient Overseas Container Line, a subsidiary of Orient Overseas (Inter­national) Limited, is one of the world's leading container transport and logistics service providers. Based in Hong Kong, the company has more than 230 offices in 58 countries, encompassing Asia, Europe, North America and Australasia. OOCL's cold chain expertise includes advanced IT and logistics solutions and superior reefer technology to ensure maximum product shelf life at destination.

OOCL operates 150-plus vessels with capacity ranging from 2,500 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) to 8,063 TEU. Its MAG+ reefer containers hold perishable cargo at the "Perfect Climate," with temperature capabilities ranging from minus 38 degrees F to 86 degrees F. OOCL's overland generator sets guarantee the same constant, ideal temperature by road, rail or reefer container.

A new addition to OOCL Logistics' e-business offerings is Reefer Podium, a system customized for refrigerated and frozen seafood. Providing supply-chain visibility from production to cargo loading to doorstep delivery, Reefer Podium includes such functions as product catalogs and price quotations for individual buyers and a profile of product grade, value and packaging.



San Ramon, Calif.

(925) 358-6625



Peninsula of Boston a Northeast seafood hub

Peninsula of Boston has provided refrigerated storage, consolidated distribution, specialty transfer and freight forwarding for fresh seafood for more than 35 years. It is the leading independent transfer point for fresh-food distribution in the Northeast, with service from Logan Airport to anywhere in the world. Peninsula is HACCP approved and provides inventory control, repackaging, re-icing, inspectional services, local pickup and delivery and daily pickup and delivery to Logan Airport. Peninsula also offers on-site inspection services by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In response to requests for more timely delivery, the company has increased worldwide LD3 and LD7 airfreight services significantly, along with smaller overnight deliveries by various carriers.

Peninsula's facility is just one block from the entrances to Interstates 93, 95 and 90. Twelve loading doors feed directly to the staging area, and three 7-by-9-foot automatic cooler doors provide quick and easy access to the 44,000-cubic-foot cooler, reducing handling.


Peninsula of Boston


(617) 427-4401



Preferred Freezer keeps it cold, gets it there

Since 1989, Preferred Freezer Services has grown from one facility to a network of 13 state-of-the-art refrigerated warehouses located throughout North America. With three more sites planned to open this year, PFS is poised to expand its capacity of 60 million cubic feet.

Its list of customers is also growing, as all facilities are strategically located in close proximity to major U.S. ports and roadways. Its newest site in Newark, N.J., serves the New York metropolitan area with more than 8.5 million cubic feet kept at 0 degrees F. Other sites are located near Boston, New York, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.

PFS has designated inspection areas for the Food and Drug Adminis­tration, U.S. Department of Agricul­ture and U.S. Department of Com­merce. All its facilities are HACCP-certified. Its full range of services also includes computerized inventory management, cross-docking, freight consolidation and mo re.


Preferred Freezer Services

Newark, N.J.

(973) 820-4040


USCS leads the way 
in logistics, storage

United States Cold Storage is a leading public refrigerated warehouse company based in Cherry Hills, N.J. Since its acquisition by John Swire & Sons in 1982, its capacity has grown to 130 million cubic feet.

USCS now operates 30 facilities that employ approximately 1,350 people. Its regional and national distribution centers are located in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Its wide array of storage and logistics services allows USCS to serve many leading American and international food companies.

With more than 35 percent of its handled goods destined for international use or consumption, USCS has become an integral part of the global food distribution and supply chain.

USCS also develops and integrates technological applications that facilitate and expand logistics services for its customers. By managing the receiving, storage and order-assembly of about 6 billion pounds of temperature-sensitive foods each year, USCS has created fully integrated warehouse, transportation and information systems that improve day-to-day operations and save money for its customers.


United States Cold Storage

Union City, Calif.

(national sales headquarters)

(510) 471-1703



Versacold offers full spectrum of services

Logistics-management expertise and a solid reputation for reliability and quality follow Versacold wherever it goes. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company operates 74 modern, temperature-controlled warehouses across Canada and the United States with a combined storage capacity of nearly 272 million cubic feet.

Seafood companies represent about 20 percent of Versacold's business. Founded in 1946, it specializes in custom freezing and food processing as well as third-party logistics and transportation services.

Versacold also offers handling, multi-temperature warehouse storage and cross-docking services, as well as container drayage on imported products. The company additionally provides facilities for Food and Drug Ad­ministration and U.S. Depart­men t of Commerce inspections.

Versacold serves seafood companies and retailers in the Western, Southwest and Northeast United States. Its customer base includes Landry's Seafood Restaurants, H.E. Butt Grocery Co. and The Kroger Co. The company also operates facilities in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.



Vancouver, B.C.

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