The North Carolina State Ports Authority set a new record for refrigerated container volume. North Carolina Ports moved 1,459 refrigerated containers--2,918 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units)--through the Port of Wilmington during the month of April.

“It has long been North Carolina Ports’ goal to become one of the premier cold ports for shippers and these numbers are evidence of that mission,” said Paul J. Cozza, Executive Director, North Carolina Ports. “Additionally, our record-setting April highlights our expanding perishables portfolio as we have quadrupled refrigerated container volume over the last five years.”

North Carolina Ports continues to experience a healthy flow of refrigerated cargoes to global markets despite the recent volatility due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fiscal year (FY) 2020 year-to-date (July-April) volumes are up 20% over FY19. Annual growth from FY14 to FY19 is up more than 225%. Pork and poultry products continue to be the leading export while bananas are the largest refrigerated import cargo.

“While there is still much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we continue to see growth in both import and export demand through the Port of Wilmington,” added Hans C.E. Bean, North Carolina Ports Chief Commercial Officer. “To support this growth, we are making the necessary investments to improve and expand our capabilities which in turn will benefit the North Carolina agriculture industry, the state’s grocery sector and additional cold chain users. As we continue to make progress in optimizing complementary export and import flows, there is a great opportunity to deliver more value for stakeholders across the entire supply chain.”

This latest accomplishment comes on the heels of the opening of a new refrigerated container yard last month. The $14 million project increased the number of on-terminal refrigerated container plugs from 235 to 775 with the ability to expand to more than 1,000 plugs through Phase 2 of the project.

About North Carolina Ports

North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City and Charlotte Inland Port link the state’s consumers, business 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.

Click here for more COVID-19 coverage and how it is affecting the refrigerated and frozen foods industry.