Americold Acquires PortFresh Holdings and Plans to Develop State of the Art Facility to Support Temperature-Controlled Trade Through the Port of Savannah

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January 31, 2019 - Atlanta, GA – Americold Realty Trust (NYSE: COLD), (the “Company” or “Americold”), the world’s largest owner and operator of temperature-controlled facilities and infrastructure, today announced that the Company has acquired privately-held PortFresh Holdings, LLC (“PortFresh”), a leading temperature-controlled operator servicing fresh produce trade primarily through the Port of Savannah. In connection with its acquisition of PortFresh, Americold plans to build a new 15 million cubic foot state-of-the-art cold storage facility on adjacent land owned by PortFresh. The total cost of the acquisition, including approximately 163 acres of contiguous land, is approximately $35 million. The cost of the planned new build is expected to be between $55 to $65 million. Americold funded the acquisition with cash on hand and expects to fund the development from available capital resources. 

“The Port of Savannah is one of the fastest growing ports in the United States and has seen increased traffic of temperature-controlled trade. With this investment, Americold is fulfilling our customers’ requests to expand into this growing market, which provides an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet their import and export needs.  We believe this development project represents a significant long term growth opportunity for the Company, as we continue to grow our scale and develop our partnership with the Port of Savannah,” said Fred Boehler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Americold Realty Trust. 

The planned new facility will feature 37,000 pallet positions, advanced blast freezing capabilities, and space and infrastructure to support refrigerated-containerized trade. Americold expects to begin construction on the new facility in the first half of 2019, with the opening expected to be in the first quarter of 2020. 

The Port of Savannah imported 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo in 2017, a 10.6% increase over 2016, making it the nation’s fourth-largest port, as reported by the 2018 U.S. Ports Report from Descartes Datamyne.  The port’s Southern US location, ocean carrier network and access to transportation channels, including to growing markets in South America and Europe, reduces transportation time as compared to Northeastern ports, which require additional trucking and transport. The Port of Savannah continues to expand and has a stated strategy to double its storage capacity with its partners in the next 10 years.

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“The Georgia Ports Authority is pleased to welcome Americold to the Savannah market,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “This announcement represents yet another expansion of Savannah’s position as a hub for the handling of cold and chilled cargoes, and complements the port’s continued on-terminal development of refrigerated cargo infrastructure.”

Brian Kastick, PortFresh’s Founder and CEO, has joined Americold with this acquisition and will help to grow the Company’s fresh produce business initiatives. “I am delighted to join the Americold platform at this exciting time. PortFresh has developed the import market for temperature controlled logistics in the Port of Savannah. I believe that Americold’s brand, platform and operational expertise will enhance PortFresh’s   capabilities to serve both our existing and new customers,” stated Kastick.

The returns for the development project and acquisition are consistent with the Company’s stated return expectations for such projects upon stabilization.

About Americold

Americold is the world’s largest owner and operator of temperature-controlled warehouses. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Americold owns and operates 156 temperature-controlled warehouses (as of September 30, 2018), with approximately 928 million refrigerated cubic feet of storage, in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Argentina. Americold’s facilities are an integral component of the supply chain connecting food producers, processors, distributors and retailers to consumers.

Contact: 
Media:
Sean Tetpon
Telephone: 404-426-0832
Email: sean.tetpon@americold.com

Investor Relations
Telephone: 678-459-1959
Email: investor.relations@americold.com

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains statements about future events and expectations that constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future financial and operating performance and growth plans, taking into account the information currently available to us. These statements are not statements of historical fact. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations of future results we express or imply in any forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on such statements. Factors that could contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to, risks related to expansions of existing properties and developments of new properties and recently announced development projects, including failure to meet budgeted or stabilized returns in respect thereof and risks related to the method of settlement of the forward sale agreement, and the form and amount of proceeds of such settlement.

Words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “continues,” “estimates,” “expects,” “goal,” “objectives,” “intends,” “may,” “opportunity,” “plans,” “potential,” “near-term,” “long-term,” “projections,” “assumptions,” “projects,” “guidance,” “forecasts,” “outlook,” “target,” “trends,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “will” and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

Booming Savannah Port Sees Trade Tensions as Just a Hiccup

Savannah has bet heavily on attracting a hefty share of the supersize container ships routed through the enlarged Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. Dustin Chambers for The New York Times).

Savannah has bet heavily on attracting a hefty share of the supersize container ships routed through the enlarged Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. Dustin Chambers for The New York Times).

(As published by The New York Times by Patricia Cohen and Natalie Kitroeff) SAVANNAH, Ga. — Savannah’s ocean ports feature skyscraping silver cranes that stand at attention on the water’s edge. Container ships stretch the length of four football fields, with 40-foot containers stacked behind them like multicolored Lego bricks.

But an empty patch of freshly bulldozed dirt is the first spot at the sprawling Garden City Terminal that Griffith Lynch, the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, wants to show off.

That is the site of a new $127 million rail depot that will enable double-decker trains as long as the National Mall to be loaded right at the port. It is one piece of a larger vision that Mr. Lynch contends Savannah is uniquely positioned to achieve: Shippers here will be able to deliver goods to Midwestern cities in the time it takes other ports to finish heaving cargo off a boat.

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PortFresh Logistics Has Expansion Plans

From left, Ken Burke, PortFresh vice president of client relations; Rebecca George Ogden, president; Brian Kastick, CEO and state Agriculture Commisssioner Gary Black are surrounded by boxes of onions during a plant tour. (G.G. Rigsby/Effingham Now)

From left, Ken Burke, PortFresh vice president of client relations; Rebecca George Ogden, president; Brian Kastick, CEO and state Agriculture Commisssioner Gary Black are surrounded by boxes of onions during a plant tour. (G.G. Rigsby/Effingham Now)

As published online at SavannahNow.com — Brian Kastick has had a couple of great business ideas during his career that he regretted not jumping on and he wasn’t going to let that happen a third time.

So when he learned of policy changes that would allow fresh South American produce to be brought into the Port of Savannah, he began planning a cold storage and packing business in Effingham County.

“It was a lot of sleepless nights but I’m glad I took the risk,” said Kastick, CEO of PortFresh Logistics, which celebrated its one-year anniversary and was visited by state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black last week. “We took the risk and jumped out before everyone else did.”

The 100,000-square-foot facility on 20 acres at Old River Road and I-16 has already grown by an 11,000-square foot onion drying room and its owners plan to double the size of the building within the next year.

A worker moves boxes of bananas from cold storage to a truck. They were imported from Costa Rica. PortFresh handles a variety of fruits and vegetables, including grapes, kiwi, star fruit, mandarin oranges, apples, pears, onions and potatoes. (G.G. Rigsby/Effingham Now)

A worker moves boxes of bananas from cold storage to a truck. They were imported from Costa Rica. PortFresh handles a variety of fruits and vegetables, including grapes, kiwi, star fruit, mandarin oranges, apples, pears, onions and potatoes. (G.G. Rigsby/Effingham Now)

The company has three times the number of workers it originally had forecast – 120 – and has exercised an option to buy another 162 acres, which it has cleared and is marketing to other food-related businesses.

The facility processed 6,000 truckloads of produce in its first year.

Workers wear jackets and sometimes ski masks as they use forklifts to move boxes of fruit and vegetables to and from trucks and rooms set at optimum temperatures – 57 degrees for bananas, 50 degrees for mangos and avocadoes and 34 degrees for grapes other fruits.

Kastick, who worked as an importer, marketer, grower and shipper of fresh produce before starting PortFresh, said the business requires a lot of coordination, with trucks coming in and out at all hours of the day and night and the produce requiring U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs inspections.

The plant is always open. “We’re open Sunday because people eat on Monday,” Kastick said.

Kastick said the capital investment was steep; he estimates the current building and machinery cost $25 million.

That includes expensive machinery that can package 45 three-pound bags of onions every minute and a machine that puts stickers on individual pieces of fruit such as apples.

Kastick said opening up the Port of Savannah to fresh produce means customers will get fresher fruit and vegetables faster and for less money.

Previously, 95 percent of the imported fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. East Coast arrived through Northeast ports and were trucked to customers in the Southeast.

Imported fruits go through “cold treatment,” being kept for a certain number of days at cold temperatures to ensure they are free of pests or pathogens. The USDA began allowing cold fruit to be offloaded at the Port of Savannah in 2014 if the cold treatment time was completed.

This year, the USDA began allowing the cold treatment to be completed at the terminal or at PortFresh.

“We make sure there’s no break in the cold chain,” ensuring the quality of the product, Kastick said.

PortFresh’s main customers are grocery store chains and importers, but it’s also working with farmers who want to use the business’s repacking and exporting services.

“This is 21st century agriculture,” state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said after touring the facility Thursday. “I’m encouraged to see this type of focus on the food industry and what services can be provided to farmers.”

Great Milestone For PortFresh Logistics

WE PACKED OUR FIRST PACK OF CUTIES!

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Did you know — Cuties and Halos are different types of mandarins depending on what time of year it is. They are not always the Clementine variety. In fact, Clementines are only available during the beginning part of the citrus season (from November to January).

PortFresh Delivering New Chilled Cargo Logistics Capacity

Brian Kastick, CEO of PortFresh Logistics, said the company has been working for more than two years to meet the need for additional chilled cargo infrastructure in Savannah.

“Currently, more than 90 percent of imported fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. East Coast arrive via Northeast ports,” Kastick said. “That means cargo headed to the Southeast must be trucked down, adding time and expense to the logistics supply chain.”

Thanks to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture program allowing South American citrus fruit, grapes, blueberries and other produce items to enter via the Port of Savannah, substantial cost savings are now available to customers across the Southeast and beyond.

“Using the Port of Savannah offers significant time and money savings per container for areas throughout the Southeast region,” Kastick said. “We believe the growing population of the U.S. Southeast, government policy changes and perishable industry consolidation will break open significant pent-up demand for the new perishable supply chain gateway built around the Port of Savannah.”

PortFresh’s state-of-the-art cold storage facility, on 20 acres of a 182-acre site, is specifically designed to allow multiple climate zones. Engineered to maintain cold chain integrity, the facility ensures delivery of the freshest and safest produce from the port to the customer.

“Our customers have found they are able to move perishable cargoes more efficiently and deliver better quality products to store shelves by using the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Citrus, avocados, blueberries and other products are already moving through the Port of Savannah, and we hope to grow that portfolio.”

PortFresh handles both import and export cargo. The main building is located right off Interstate 16 on Old River Road in Effingham County, seven miles from Interstate 95 and 15 miles from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.