New Orleans-based New Orleans Cold Storage (NOCS) opened a new 142,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse at the Port of New Orleans, adding 125 direct new jobs and generating $126 million in annual spending.

“We have reached the end of a long road traveled since Hurricane Katrina, and we are poised for growth,” says Mark Blanchard, president and CEO. “The storm and subsequent closing of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet made it uncertain whether we could keep operations in New Orleans open. But with the help of the state and The Port of New Orleans, we are expanding by opening our new, state-of-the art terminal at the Henry Clay Street Wharf.

The new Henry Clay facility can store 38 million pounds of perishable products and can freeze up to 1.25 million pounds of fresh product each day. Operations at the new terminal include blast freezing, handling, warehousing and stevedoring – the loading and unloading of vessels – of export poultry and beef products.

The building was constructed by Primus Builders, Woodstock, Ga., using the latest environmentally friendly technology to cut down on energy expenses and increase efficiency. It includes LED lighting, room-to-berth two ships, the ability to load perishable products into containers and transfer the cargo to the Port of New Orleans’ container terminal for ocean transport.

The NOCS terminal is the first design-build project the Port has ever implemented. By staying within budget on a fast-tracked schedule with McDonnel/Primus Joint Venture (MPJV) and NOCS, the completed build is becoming an example of how other Louisiana ports may expand and build in the future.

The modern, dockside refrigerated terminal cost $40 million to design and build. Of that amount, $23.5 million came from a federal Community Development Block Grant that is part of Louisiana’s Disaster Recovery Program. The remaining $16.5 million in funding came from the Port of New Orleans, which owns the terminal and leases it to NOCS.