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!
All thawed out
Whether you believe that reefer units are smart depends on who you ask. Just kidding. If a fridge can have internet and bluetooth attached to it, a reefer unit can have some sort of “smart” component to it. So much so that the smart reefer container market was valued at $823 million in 2018 and is projected to reach $1.66 billion by 2027, according to a Global Smart Reefer Container Market analysis from market research firm The Insight Partners.
Container shipping is stepping into 2023 in style. The evolution of smart containers helps carriers develop and strengthen relationships with shippers and customers. This can be attributed in part to the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), which is working to set the technological foundation for IT solutions. Achieving widespread adoption of IT standards moves the entire refrigerated container industry forward.
Jacksonville, Florida, is gaining more ground as a cold chain powerhouse. FlexCold is expanding near the city’s port to cash in on some of the increase in cold storage demand. According to a news release, the new facility will feature:
- Over 350,000 square feet of space and more than 55,000 pallet positions of chilled and frozen storage.
- Fifty-one bays and 115 reefer plug-ins.
- Both cooling and freezing with temperatures ranging from minus-10 to 35 degrees.
- On-site blast freezing is available, with a capacity of up to 12 loads per day.
- One-hundred local jobs to support economic growth.
“We’re thrilled to have opened and to quickly expand our first FlexCold facility here in Jacksonville,” FlexCold President Craig Turner said in a news release. “I am proud of our team and the systems we have in place that have helped us exceed our phase one occupancy projections. It is a testament to our strong leadership, our team and community support.”
FlexCold previously opened a facility at the end of last summer that boasted over 150,000 square feet, so this new addition to the Jacksonville roster will more than double that space. I know it’s weird to look at Florida as the place to be, but for all things cold storage, Jacksonville appears to be just that.
Food and drugs
Montana, American Indians and the cold chain all come together in some slightly unusual news. The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana would like to build a cold storage facility for groceries for tribe members. The tribe is expanding efforts to combat food shortages the community has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as into the future. The facility is expected to open in the next few months. Right now, about 10% of the households in Montana are facing some type of food insecurity, so the tribe is taking a serious step to bring that number down for its people.
Across the pond in the U.K., supermarket Sainsbury’s enjoyed a successful trial with a hydrogen-powered truck. The three-month-long trial used the 19-ton refrigerated truck to travel about 208 miles a day. According to a Fuel Cell Works article, the daily 208-mile run emitted zero emissions vs. an average of 692 pounds of carbon dioxide the run would have otherwise emitted. Throughout the trial, the truck used only 65% of its hydrogen capacity per trip, meaning that 208-mile haul could have been much longer. With the completion of this trial, it opens the door for more dedicated type fleets to incorporate hydrogen-powered vehicles into the supply chain and meet some of those sustainability goals.
Cold chain lanes
This week’s cold chain market is none other than Houston. The Texas city might rival Jacksonville for warehousing development. Reefer outbound tender rejections in Houston are rising above 15% with no indication of stopping in the near future. When it comes to tender rejections, anything over 7%-10% is considered an inflationary spot rate environment. The fact that we’re well above that means you should expect to pay more for spot market freight in Houston, and don’t be surprised when contracted carriers bail on normal opportunities since they could get more on spot freight.
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