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Cool-Pak offers logistics solutions in Southern Calif.

As Cool-Pak Solutions motors toward its fifth anniversary, the company can boast of some impressive statistics including moving about 200 million pounds of produce through its Southern California facility on an annual basis.

The company, which opened its Carson, CA, facility near the joint ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2013, handled about 140,000 pallets of produce in 2017. About 98 percent of that was involved in international trade, either as an incoming shipment or one destined for export.

Vincent Calvillo, chief operating officer of the 170,000-square-foot facility and dock space, said “we have 20 rooms all able to operate at different temperatures, two repacking rooms with automated machinery to efficiently and cost effectively convert bulk commodities into varying packaged types.”

This past year, about 80 million pounds of produce was repacked at the facility. The company also offers storage, reconditioning, cross docking, trans-loading and overweight unloading and loading. He explained that the close proximity to the ports means the operation is located within the appropriate zone that allows overweight ocean containers to be transported between the facility and the twin ports. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are located adjacent to each other on the Pacific Coast across a channel at the southwestern tip of Los Angles and the most western spot of Long Beach. Long Beach is the second busiest container port in the United States only outdistanced by Los Angeles.  

Calvillo said both ports are continuing to grow in volume, especially in the fresh fruit sector. “We did experience growth this year especially with melons and grapes from South America and kiwi and other fruit from Australia and New Zealand.”

He noted that Cool-Pak has a food safety certification from Primus Labs and organic certification from Quality Assurance International allowing it to handle and repack organic produce. He added that the organic sector continues to grow as more and more conventional producers add organic SKUs to the mix.

Calvillo emphasized that Cool-Pak Solutions is a third-party logistics company that is only in the business of moving produce from one place to another and repacking and reworking product that needs that service. “We do not sell any product,” he said. “We do not compete with our customers.”

There are inspection and fumigation service companies in the same facility for the convenience of their customers. “And our newest investment, the Compac Spectrim, is a state-of-the-art sorting and grading machine. It has increased the yields and consistency of grading for our customers,” he said. “We installed it during the fourth quarter of 2017. Cool-Pak is committed to staying ahead of the curve with regard to repacking technology. Last year our bagging capability reached 200 bags per minute.”

The company executive said that while they are moving a lot of pounds through the facility, they do have capacity for more business. He said efficient turnover times allows for increased capacity as the business grows.