Performance Team breaks ground on South Carolina cold chain facility

The South Carolina cold chain facility opening next year will handle Port of Charleston imports and exports of proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Performance Team – A Maersk Company will open a cold storage facility in Charleston, South Carolina, early next year designed to get imports of proteins, fruits and vegetables to 80 million U.S. consumers within one day and 225 million consumers within two days. 

“We have been evaluating South Atlantic cold chain market opportunities for the past three years, and this opportunity stood out in a strong way for a number of good reasons. The South Atlantic is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, and we see lots of business opportunities thanks to a competitive port that we can connect our logistics and services to with all our brands here — Maersk, Hamburg Süd and Sealand,” said Mike Meierkort, head of logistics and services for Maersk North America, during a groundbreaking ceremony in Charleston last week. 

The ceremonial first dig is recorded on land along Interstate 26 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Maersk North America)

A Maersk spokesman told FreightWaves the facility would be in “a very strategic location” along Interstate 26 less than 30 miles from the Port of Charleston. He declined to share the size of the cold storage building or the cost of construction. 

A.P. Moller – Maersk (OCTUS: AMKBY) acquired Performance Team in April 2020 in a $545 million deal.  

Proteins and frozen fruits and vegetables reportedly accounted for 77% of all 2021 reefer food volume at the Port of Charleston. 

“South Carolina Ports has the capacity to support more refrigerated and frozen goods and we look forward to growing the cold chain business segment together,” South Carolina Ports Authority CEO Barbara Melvin said in a news release Monday. 

According to the release, the facility, which will be developed by RL Cold and constructed by Charleston-based Primus and will open in the first quarter of 2023, “will offer a truly unique value proposition to customers through supply chain simplification benefits by integrating cold storage solutions with ocean transit and drayage, refrigerated inland trucking, blast/quick freezing, USDA meat inspections, boxing/repacking and other value-added services based on customer needs.” 

Diogo Lobo, head of cold chain logistics for Maersk North America, said: “Customers are looking for more cold storage space in Charleston to grow their exports to the destinations the Port of Charleston serves. There’s a strong refrigerated market in poultry, pork, beef, seafood and potential for fruits and vegetables too. 

“We are creating the capacity needed in the market to handle fresh produce, with multiple chambers designated for the different seasons and commodities. We will have a 20,000-square-foot repack room designated for value-added service to the retail sector. We will be a one-stop shop for the temperature-controlled products going to the grocery sector.”

South Carolina Ports announced last month that it had a record 2022 fiscal year, handling 2.85 million twenty-foot equivalent units, a 12% increase year over year, at the Port of Charleston’s terminals.

Performance Team operates more than 150 distribution and fulfillment facilities in North America. Maersk announced in June that Performance Team will open a nearly 168,000-square-foot cold storage facility in Dayton, New Jersey, in October. 

In March, Maersk announced Performance Team would build a 283,000-square-foot cold storage facility in Baytown, Texas, about 15 minutes from Port Houston. The facility, which will have access to both BNSF and Union Pacific rail lines, is expected to open this month. 

Maersk added to its North American first-, middle- and last-mile capabilities with its February acquisition of Pilot Freight Services for $1.8 billion. 

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