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PhilaPort Special May 2021

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Page 20 of 39 was opened in January 2019, with a second addition completed in January 2020. This facility is undergoing a third expansion, scheduled for completion in October 2021, which will bring the total combined size of both facilities to 575,000 square feet. ACCORDING TO AMERICAN Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) statistics, in 2020 PhilaPort was the fastest-growing container port in North America. Many US ports and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) are looking for faster supply chain solutions. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, PhilaPort achieved 7 percent growth. Over the past nine years, PhilaPort has enjoyed compound annual growth of over 11 percent. And they are working to build on these accomplishments. "Ocean carriers are now seeing the major role that Philadelphia can play for East Coast logistics," PhilaPort CEO Jeff Theobald said. "And, with major new DC hubs coming into our region, we expect our growth to continue.'" He highlighted several projects designed to maintain the current high-speed throughput as volumes grow. "We broke ground in the first quarter of 2021 on the new PhilaPort Distribution Center, a two-phase, 400,000-square-foot building(s). When both phases are finished, it will include dry and refrigerated sections. We're looking for new BCO partners to utilize this distribution center to its best potential." Theobald also discussed a new berth at the Southport complex, for which the permitting is already in hand. The new berth is part of a planned $400 million in new investments, including acquisition of additional land and road and rail improvements. PhilaPort has long benefited from DC growth in the Lehigh Valley and South Jersey. Now, important new private sector warehouse projects are coming closer to the port's marine terminals. These include the Hilco project in West Philadelphia and North Point's Keystone Trade Center in neighboring Bucks County. These are two of the largest warehouse complex developments in the USA; each will total over 10 million square feet of new, Class 1 warehousing. In other good news, auto volumes have bounced back. The Southport Auto Terminal continues to build volumes from new original equipment manufacturers due to the proximity of CSX and Norfolk Southern rail ramps. Finally, forest products continue to be one of the main commodities at the port. Personal hygiene products, packaging materials, health/medical-related items, and lumber are the main segments, largely due to COVID-19-related changes in consumer behavior. The port handled over 1 million tons of forest products last year. The fastest-growing port in the USA Michael Levari, Sr., owner and president of The Levari Group, said that two additional phases are under consideration, "which I'm sure we will eventually wind up doing." In addition to cold storage, the company's facilities offer climate-controlled and dry storage capabilities. Blast freezing is also available for food products or fresh produce. This step helps reduce the metabolic processes and substantially extends the shelf life of fresh goods. The blast freezers have a capacity of six loads every 18 to 24 hours. Food is the primary commodity handled by First Choice Freezer & Cold Storage, and e-commerce growth is driving changes in the sector, Levari noted. Specifically, "we are providing freezer facilities for the meal kit industry," he said. First Choice Freezer & Cold Storage is a member of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, the leading voice for the cold chain industry. The company receives regular inspections by the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and several third- party entities to verify compliance with all food safety regulations and standards. A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT OF THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE May 24 2021 | 21 PHILADELPHIA TRADE & LOGISTICS

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