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PhilaPort Special May 2021

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Page 15 of 39 operator globally, acquired AGRO Merchants last year and, with it, a portfolio of 46 cold storage properties in 10 countries, including a 156,000-square-foot facility in Vineland, New Jersey. Americold expects to see "pretty significant volume increases this year," including citrus products from Argentina, Peru, and Chile, said Chris Ryan, director of key accounts, fresh produce. "Citrus is really our sweet spot at the Vineland facility." Ryan added that the anticipated normalization of trade between the US and European Union and subsequent rollback of 25 percent tariffs on certain European fruit imports and other foods, implemented in October 2019, would pave the way for resumption of Spanish citrus exports in late 2021. Furthermore, in order to "keep up with the demands associated with ever-growing volumes, Americold continues to invest in automation to make our packing lines faster and get as much produce to the market as quickly as possible," he said. Processing fresh fruits and vegetables is still a very manual, highly specialized operation, but optical graders — which take pictures of the produce to identify defects — and other automation and technologies, are helping support growing volumes. Nonetheless, while automation is transforming cold storage operations, the trucking industry continues to struggle with a driver shortage, he said. "Rising transportation costs, especially for over-the-road transportation, are really escalating. The hours-of-service regulations combined with an aging and retiring truck driver workforce are a real challenge to getting product from point A to point B in a cost- efficient manner." For those reasons, Ryan sees the potential for automation in the trucking sector, specifically autonomous vehicles for long- haul routes. While autonomous vehicles won't become commonplace anytime soon, he said, "we are definitely going to have to move in that direction for the future." Kevin Daly, chief commercial officer of East Coast Warehouse, acknowledged the shared challenge of driver shortages in the trucking sector and overall labor issues in the supply chain sector. "Labor and workforce is our biggest focus as we work to recruit and retain more drivers in order to expand our transportation footprint," from drayage to less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload, he said. East Coast Warehouse, a leading temperature-controlled logistics provider to the food and beverage industry, is headquartered in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The business entered the Philadelphia market in 2016 to operate a Centralized Examination Station (CES) for US Customs and Border "Philadelphia will become even more important for us and our key customers as they start using Philadelphia as their gateway to the Midwest." AMERICOLD IS THE world's largest publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on the ownership, operation, acquisition, and development of temperature-controlled warehouses. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Americold owns and operates 242 temperature-controlled warehouses, with over 1.4 billion refrigerated cubic feet of storage, in 13 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and South America. Americold's facilities are an integral component of the supply chain connecting food producers, processors, distributors, and retailers to consumers. With facilities in the major growing regions throughout North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, Americold is well positioned to support the global fruit and vegetable supply chain. Aiding exporters with the chilling, freezing, and packing of product, and export documentation expertise, and importers with fumigation, cold treatment, ripening, product grading, repacking, and transportation services at port-adjacent facilities, Americold is ideally located and expertly staffed to be an extension of our customers' businesses. Americold facilities in Houston, Texas, and Southern California offer port-specific fruit and vegetable services, while inland locations in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and Wisconsin support local growers during harvest times. In Savannah, Georgia, Americold operates the only cold treatment certified facility between Baltimore and Florida. This gateway to southern US state markets cuts days off traditional transportation times for products originating in South and Central America, as Savannah is one of the first ports of call in the USA for northbound vessels. Americold operates the nation's largest fruit and vegetable import facility just outside of Philadelphia. And with a dedicated, owned fleet of vehicles operating the route between the port and the Americold facility, customers can depend on Americold for the most efficient port through-route to get products faster and fresher, which translates into better quality fruits and vegetables for consumers to enjoy. For more information on Americold, please contact Chris Ryan at and visit The temperature-controlled supply chain for fruits and vegetables A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT OF THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 16 | May 24 2021 PHILADELPHIA TRADE & LOGISTICS

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