Wilmington, N.C. – North Carolina Ports hosted the Cold Chain Summit 2018: Cold Gateways Expansion – Farm to Table and Beyond in historic downtown Wilmington on Wednesday. This is the second year NC Ports has organized and hosted the event focusing on current markets, shipping patterns, consumer behavior and environmental impacts of the global cold chain industry.
“This year’s summit comes at a time of significant growth for NC Ports’ perishables portfolio,” said NC Ports Executive Director Paul J. Cozza. “North Carolina’s port in Wilmington has tripled its refrigerated container business in the last four years; in February embarked on a year-long commitment to receive weekly banana imports; and in December 2017 joined the USDA’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program.”
The second annual event featured a keynote address from Nick Perkins and Felipe Espinosa of ACME Smoked Fish as well as three panel discussions made up of experts from across the supply chain.
Panel I: Grow It, Harvest It, Ship It was moderated by Taylor Howerton of SunTrust and featured panelists Butler Anderson of Lewis Nursery and Farms, Ceferino Estrada of KB Specialties, Dr. Laura Jeffers of the USDA-APHIS and Jose Hidalgo of Crowley. The group discussed the importance of making the Port of Wilmington the premiere global gateway for perishable goods.
“North Carolina’s port in Wilmington is strategically located on the United States East Coast making it an ideal location for moving both perishable imports and exports,” said Estrada.
“In addition to the Port of Wilmington’s great location, NC Ports offers unprecedented turntimes for truckers. It’s important that we are able to move perishable cargoes quickly to maintain peak freshness,” added Anderson.
Panel II: Homegrown North Carolina featured moderator Rob Hosford of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and panelists Jay Brickman of Crowley, Jose Calderon of Farm Park Products/Barnes Farming Corp., Oleg Kovalev of Mountaire Farms and Jason Lloyd of Interra International. The second panel of the day provided attendees a detailed look inside North Carolina’s agriculture business and the logistics behind moving the state’s agriculture products into and out of the Port of Wilmington.
“North Carolina Ports is open for business to the largest commodity in the state – agriculture,” said Hosford. “The Port of Wilmington has made transporting cargo ‘the last mile’ tremendously easy.”
Dr. Burak S. Ayata of Kuehne + Nagel moderated Panel III: Movers and Shakers: Where the Rubber Meets the Road. The panel featured speakers Tim O’Connell of Maersk Line, Josh Sigler of Ascent Global Logistics, Walter Vinson of Refrigerated Transport Electronics and Gary Winstead of ARC Transit.
Attendees also received an executive update on North Carolina Ports’ future plans and growth from Chief Operating Officer Brian Clark. Clark discussed in detail the Authority’s more than $200 million infrastructure improvement plan which is well underway. The Port of Wilmington has already received two of its three neo-Panamax cranes and construction continues on berth enhancements as well as the expansion of the container yard – which will more than double Wilmington’s annual throughput container capacity to over one million TEUs.
“This is only the beginning for North Carolina Ports. The infrastructure improvement plan will continue to make the Port of Wilmington an attractive global gateway for our customers today and well into the future,” said Clark.
About North Carolina Ports
North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state’s consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to the State of North Carolina. Port activities contribute statewide to more than 87,700 jobs and $678 million each year in state and local tax revenues.