Running on Ice: Warehouses grow on the East Coast

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Hello, and welcome to the coolest community in freight! Here you’ll find the latest information on warehouse news, tech developments and all things reefer madness-related. I’m your controller of the thermostat, Mary O’Connell. Thanks for having me!

The Midwest remains one of the best places to put large warehouses. Land is pretty readily available and the cost is significantly lower than on the coasts. As a result, the places that are experiencing major warehouse capacity constraints lie on the coasts, and not many developers are racing to set up new facilities there. Turnbridge Equities is an exception.

Turnbridge Equities and Manekin together with PCCP LLC and Qatar Investment Authority have broken ground on a facility in Bowie, Maryland. The facility has 3.5 million square feet of Class A industrial space that can accommodate data centers, manufacturing and cold storage. The project is broken into two phases, with the first phase being operational by early next year and including 1.3 million square feet of industrial capacity.

The reason for setting up shop in Bowie? Ryan Nelson, Turnbridge Equities managing principal, said, “Our industrial investment strategy has been focused solely on the high barriers to entry, urban industrial markets, where proximity to major population centers is paramount and where traffic constraints drive warehouse occupiers to be as close to the end user as possible. Thus, our focus has been on the largest urban population centers of New York City and Northern New Jersey, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. It’s incredibly hard to develop anywhere in this market, so to have a site with this much scale is incredibly rare.”

We’re taking the title “Temperature Checks” literally this week. Axiom Cloud, a refrigeration management software company, has rolled out its Early Leak Detection module. This module is available throughout North America and, according to the news release, “uses AI-powered algorithms, instead of requiring new physical sensors, to detect leaks much earlier than most grocery stores and cold storage facilities do today.”

The module is helping facilities dramatically lower refrigerant leak rates and reduce scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides clear notifications (that often specify the location of the leak) to enable faster detection. Most grocery stores and cold-storage facilities use R134-A refrigerant, which is running about $4-$10 per pound at wholesale. For reference, one grocery store may have up to 5,000 pounds of refrigerant, the average being around 3,500 pounds. Even a slow leak can cost thousands of dollars if not treated quickly — not to mention all of the lost product that comes with a freezer or refrigerator outage at a large scale.

Ready to go to Flavortown? Guy Fieri is ready to go. Gordon Ramsay is ready to serve out dishes without a side of “idiot sandwiches.” Instead of heading to Las Vegas to get a taste of these restaurateurs’ dishes, head to the freezer aisle. Both Fieri and Ramsay have come out with frozen meal lines available exclusively at Walmart. The meals are designed to be heated in the microwave and cost less than $6 each. 

There are two other Food Network stars joining Fieri and Ramsay in the freezer aisle: Karedea Brown with a Southern style line and Andrew Zimmern with a homestyle line. No doubt these moves aim to capitalize on the wild growth the frozen food market is seeing. As of 2021 the frozen food market was valued at $55.8 billion. It is expected to grow by 4.7% yearly through 2030, which will put it at roughly $84.58 billion in 2030. There is no doubt that more and more TV and social media personalities will be jumping on the frozen food bandwagon.

The reefer market this week is Twin Falls, Idaho. Capacity has tightened as reefer outbound tender volumes have risen dramatically since the beginning of the month. It’s a 10.27% increase week over week. This sharp increase in volumes comes as potato season gets off the ground. Traditionally starting in mid-August, it’s time for a third of the nation’s potato harvest to come out of the ground. Reefer rejections shot up at the start of the week and will likely remain above 20% for the remainder of potato harvest season. 

Source: Freight Waves