Cold storage warehousing has been quickly growing since the beginning of the pandemic, according to RLS Logistics’ Vice President of Business Development, John Gaudet. Recently, Gaudet sat down for an interview with the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal about the growth in cold storage warehousing.
The surge in demand for cold storage warehousing is prominently featured in RLS’ cold chain insights newsletter, The Cold Front, and it is frequently in news headlines. Furthermore, cold storage sales hit records in 2020.
RLS has changed the footprint for cold storage warehouses in Pennsylvania due to the proximity to the Port of New York and Port of New Jersey. RLS Logistics, through its affiliate RLS Partners, acquired Gress Refrigerated Services & Logistics in Scranton, PA, in 2020. Now operating as RLS Gress, the family owned cold storage warehouse, brings over 50 years of cold chain storage experience to the RLS network throughout Pennsylvania and New York.
RLS Logistics also has a cold storage warehouse in Pittston, PA. The RLS network brings over 550,000 square feet of frozen and refrigerated cold storage warehouse space to Pennsylvania with both facilities. As a result, food manufacturers who import to the Port of New York or Port of New Jersey can seamlessly distribute from RLS cold storage warehouses to the East Coast.
Gaudet, Vice President of Business Development, explained how RLS is conducting a cold storage demand analysis in Northeastern Pennsylvania for another cold storage warehouse addition to RLS Gress.
The overall demand for cold storage warehousing has many factors, but the two main ones are eCommerce fulfillment and the generational gap that comes with it. RLS has seen the demand shift to eCommerce fulfillment since 2016, well before the pandemic began. The pandemic only enhanced the consumers’ exposure to it with increased shop from home options to lessen their trips to the grocery stores.
“However, food manufacturers were kind of caught off guard with the pandemic,” Gaudet said. “It used to be just-in-time inventory. They are now carrying more inventory not to have that happen again.” He said food manufacturers struggled during the pandemic due to a void of raw material and not having enough help.
“The ones that were producing put stock in cold storage,” Gaudet said. “With the emergence of eCommerce, there was more emergency stock, especially near big cities, and with restaurants and institutions such as universities reopening.”
Generationally, the millennial age group has the buying power as they are the largest segment in the workforce. They’re expected to spend $1.4 trillion per year. With the shift to eCommerce, companies are finding a way to strategically target this age group to their advantage to make them repeat customers.
Therefore, the demand for cold storage warehouses is growing rapidly with eCommerce capacity growing, food manufacturers keeping up with the pressure to keep shelves stocked, and the buying power in the hands of the millennials.
If you are a food manufacturer and looking to partner with a cold storage warehouse near the Pennsylvania and New York Ports, connect with our Business Development team today.