PortMiami is the busiest passenger port in the world, but it moves more than cruise ships.
Known as the “cargo gateway of the Americas,” PortMiami offers a port tunnel with direct highway access, a national freight rail connection reaching most of the U.S. within four days and a daily link to Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Miami is an important and competitive market for cold storage,” said Jason Mulvihill, director of regional sales at Lineage Logistics, which has four facilities in the Miami area. “The Port of Miami is now capable of handling the biggest Panamax cargo ships. Overall, the greater Miami metropolitan area represents a growing market that has proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean and high tourism, which creates a great opportunity for cold storage providers.”
Lineage Logistics offers more than 90,000 pallet positions, with over 600,000 square feet in the market.
“We expect to see continued growth in Miami’s population during the next decade and beyond. With this expansion comes the need for more food imports and storage in the market. Seafood is our primary commodity in the market, and we don’t see that changing in the near term,” Mulvihill said.
With over 6.2 million residents and nearly 27 million tourists annually, the South Florida region the need for cold storage in Miami-Dade and surrounding counties continues to grow.
The port has experienced a 58% increase in perishable imports since 2018, with its share among Florida ports growing from 24.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022, said Suzy Trutie, public affairs and communications director for PortMiami.
To accommodate increases in refrigerated cargo, PortMiami plans a $57 million project, to build a 150,000-square-foot cold storage/phytosanitary facility on property adjacent to Miami International Airport, the port’s sister agency.
Melons, papayas and plantains are among the region’s fastest-growing imports, Trutie said.
“Vegetables from Central America come in second place at PortMiami, representing 17% of total perishable imports into our port in 2022. This segment has seen an increase of 182% since 2019,” she said, adding that seafood imports continue to climb, accounting for about 8% of all perishable imports.
“For example, in May, Zim Shipping Company’s new Colibri Xpress service arrived at PortMiami,” Trutie said. “This service is a premium line from South America West Coast to the United States East Coast. It connects Miami to new markets such as Chile and Western Colombia, as well as additional connections to Ecuador, Jamaica, and Peru.”
New Jersey-based FreezPak Logistics recently opened what is believed to be the largest cold storage facility in Florida history, “with room left to grow,” said Dave Saoud, co-CEO.
The 312,000-square-foot facility features 51,000 pallet positions, overseas container plug, cross docking, port drayage, LTL/FTL transportation, dedicated fleets, repacking, same day orders, and USDA, FSIS and FDA services.
“With the population of Florida steadily increasing, potential growth opportunities lie ahead, although only time will reveal their extent. Currently, we believe that the advanced features of our state-of-the-art facility have already contributed positively to the Miami market,” Saoud said.
Mike Saoud, FreezPak’s co-CEO, agreed.
“Miami's multicultural population and its strong ties to Latin American markets drive demand for a wide range of products that frozen cold storage,” he said. “The city's vibrant tourism and hospitality industry, including cruise ships, resorts, and restaurants, contribute to the demand for high-quality cold storage facilities to maintain frozen temperatures.”