(Nov. 5, 2:14 p.m.) The first of four planned phases of cold storage construction is expected to be completed in January at the Port of Stockton, Calif.

“We believe people are tired of the congestion down at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” said Ken Evans, vice president of public warehousing for Riverside-based Inland Cold Storage. “There’s a growing need up here.”

Bill Lewicki, director of marketing for the port, said M&L Commodities has invested $40 million in the first two phases of the facility, which will be managed by Inland.

Len Anderson, Inland’s vice president of sales and marketing, said the first phase will have 130,000 square feet, including 15,200 racked pallet positions.

The second phase, Evans said, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2009 and includes on-site fumigation facilities.

When all four phases are completed, Evans said the facility will feature 500,000 square feet and 76,500 pallet positions.

Inland has five facilities in southern California, but Anderson said it makes sense to move some of its business north.

“We see a need in that area with the relationships we have with Chilean importers and their break-bulk requirements,” he said. “They can avoid the L.A. ports that are crowded and congested.”

In addition to offering an alternate route for imports, Lewicki said the new facility also makes the Port of Stockton an option for agricultural exports.

“Local growers have had to go down to southern California ports,” he said. “For growers in the northern San Joaquin Valley, this is a better option than trucking product all the way to Los Angeles, Long Beach or even Oakland,” he said.

Lewicki said the port is about one mile from Interstate 5 and also has rail access.

Evans said the dockside facility, which has 20 dock doors, also eliminates drayage costs.

Anderson said the facility has temperature settings ranging from minus 20 degrees to 45 degrees. The facility also will offer Internet inventory access and product tracking capabilities, freight consolidation and delivery services nationwide and a repack and inspection area.

Cold storage facility opening at Port of Stockton
A cold storage facility will be constructed in four phases at the Port of Stockton in California. In addition to offering an alternate route for imports, the new facility also will make the Port of Stockton an option for agricultural exports, says Bill Lewicki, the port's director of marketing.