Open for business as of May 2018, NewCold Tacoma USA is the first fully mechanized facility on US ground. With a capacity of over 100,000 pallets, the innovative cold storage facility in Tacoma is among eight locations worldwide.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, NewCold deploys advanced automation technology and innovations unlike many cold storage warehouses in the world. The 140-foot-tall warehouse covers 3.5 acres and encloses 25 million cubic feet of space in South Tacoma. Behind it’s white walls, cranes and conveyor belts move frozen food using an automated system. Robots do the heavy lifting, automatically collecting the right pallets in the right order and staging them in front of the dock where a truck is waiting to be loaded. This automated system can move goods quickly and more accurately requiring less space than traditional warehouses. Among other design features, this economy of space contributes to the facility’s energy efficiency which saves enough energy each year to power 700 typical Tacoma homes.
NewCold Tacoma USA’s primary tenant is Trident Seafoods, headquartered in Seattle, WA, which has already begun storing its products at the facility. Eventually, the warehouse will employ 50-100 full-time, permanent local employees with an interest in technology.
With multiple NewCold facility locations across three continents, expansion into Asian markets is a distinct possibility according to the Tacoma Daily Index. China/Hong Kong is Washington state’s number one trading partner with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines among the top five export markets according to the Washington State Department of Commerce. Headquartered in Greater Seattle, the Northwest Seaport Alliance is a strategic partnership between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle and is the fourth largest container gateway in the U.S. with shorter U.S.-Asia transits.
The food/seafood industry is also growing in Washington state with over $15.1 billion in food and agricultural products exported through Washington ports in 2013 according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Washington state also ranks first in the nation for aquaculture, a majority of which is in Western Washington. Not to mention, 62 percent of United States seafood is harvested or imported and processed in the Pacific Northwest, making the Greater Seattle region a strategic location for cold storage facilities.