Agile Cold Storage broke ground recently on its $170 million cold-storage facility at the former Claymont steel mill in Claymont, Del. The total 265,000-square-foot warehouse project is projected to be built out over the next five years, but Agile is looking to have the first phase of 165,000 square feet of space done by early 2024.
Agile is a 3-year old, third-party logistics provider that stores and distributes for other companies. The warehouse is near the Interstate 95 interchange and within 10 miles of the Port of Wilmington.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that if you didn’t have expedited ability to approve projects, we probably wouldn’t be here right now because our competition would be building somewhere else,” said Agile Cold Storage President and CEO Don Schoenl.
Agile's customers include the largest fruit and vegetable importers from South Africa and Morocco as well as protein exporters from South America, Australia and New Zealand, said Schoenl. The Port of Wilmington was a major draw for the cold storage company, with more than 6 million tons handled and much of it is fruit from South America, Central America and North Africa, reports Delaware Business Times.
The port ranks among the top gateways for fruit and juice concentrates, with a 850,000 square foot on-dock refrigerated warehouse complex. It is also a chief banana port in North America, with Dole Food Company and Chiquita Fresh North America bringing cargo weekly.
Schoenl also added that among Agile’s clients, many were looking to bring products from Ohio and Pennsylvania to be exported to the world, reports DBT. Right now, existing customers that are utilizing the Philadelphia terminal are being shipped to South Jersey and then back west to end users.
“We couldn’t make this investment without the infrastructure from the Port of Wilmington and the tremendous road infrastructure being right here on I-95,” Schoenl told reporters. “But it’s also about the availability of qualified labor. You can build a great building in a great location, and if we don’t have great associates to work with our service, levels won’t be where our customers need it to be.”