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- Leo Holt
As shippers have struggled with backlogs at ports, spotty service on ocean and land, and packed warehouses, one bright spot has emerged: investment in solutions is picking up. On the ports side, Houston is leasing about 1,500 gensets that will allow reefer containers to be stored at the port while it builds a more sophisticated power system. Oakland in October received a $36.6 million grant to help fund, among other things, additional reefer container storage and plugs, while Jacksonville received $23.5 million to install electrified reefer container racks. On the cold-storage side, Philadelphia, one of North America’s largest reefer ports, plans to build a 200,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse near the port, adding to some 360,000 square feet of existing on-dock cold storage. That would help alleviate a space crunch as cold-storage vacancy rates at warehouses fell to 3.4 percent nationally in July, according to real estate developer CBRE. It’s also part of an overall 3.3 million square feet of cold-storage construction in the US, CBRE said. On the technology side, investment in cold-chain tracking devices is primed to soar, according to an October report by market researcher Berg Insight. Active tracking devices for all reefer shipments reached 4.1 million worldwide in 2021, and is expected to reach 9.2 million by 2026, according to the report, with Maersk and ORBCOMM leading the way. This session will analyze the investment flowing into the cold chain and whether it’s enough to keep pace with growth.