Aerial image of BCS Roeder campus.

Cold storage 101: What we do here at BCS

August 29, 2018

Bellingham Cold Storage has operated in Bellingham since 1946, providing services to the commercial fishing industry, farmers and their customers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

But what is it that we do, exactly? And why is cold storage so important?

Cold storage 101

The purpose of cold storage is simple: Reducing the temperature of fish and other foods can keep it healthful and delicious while it awaits purchase by customers. Freezing food after it leaves the sea or the farm can significantly prolong its shelf life and reduce waste.

Through individual quick-freezing (IQF) and other techniques, BCS helps producers store perishable food as it passes through processing, packaging and shipping. In a nutshell, what we do is help preserve food so that farmers and fishers can feed people.

After all, when properly frozen, fish, berries, crab and other locally harvested food that has been in cold storage can be, when thawed, very similar to fresh. That’s the beauty of cold storage; cold storage allows consumers to enjoy seasonally harvested products year-round.

Help for local producers

How does Bellingham Cold Storage manage to help so many commercial food producers in the Pacific Northwest? With state-of-the-art technology and clean, modern facilities that continue to grow based on the needs of local farmers and the fishing/seafood industry.

With the largest portside cold storage on the West Coast, our cold storage centers serve a worldwide customer base.

For our seafaring customers, a 1,000-foot deepwater dock and 200-foot fishing vessel dock provide easy transition from sea to land. With the use of 50 truck bays and nine railcar bays, our diligent team members help food producers smoothly transfer their products — whether fish, berries, king crab or many other foods — to dinner tables all over the world.

BCS customers receive and process seafood from Alaskan waters and the Puget Sound. Plus, our team freezes the bountiful land harvests of the region, including much of Whatcom County’s prodigious berry crops, such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. And for those customers who don’t need frozen goods, BCS also offers chill and dry storage.

Between our two locations in Bellingham — one on the waterfront at the Port of Bellingham and another on Orchard Drive, next to Interstate 5 — BCS has 19 separate frozen, chilled and dry warehouses that serve as operational hubs for a number of food producers. Our combined daily capacity is 120 million pounds, spread over a total area of 1.4 million square feet.

Designed for the road ahead

To ensure that farmers and producers are flexible in meeting the shifting needs of consumers, the BCS team strives for agility, offering high-tech efficiency, inventory and safety capabilities designed to scale as our customers do. This means that our customers can easily and accurately track their products as they pass through either of our cold storage campuses in Bellingham — inland or waterfront. We’re known for providing top-notch services and logistical data solutions that help food producers operate as efficiently as possible.

Built on relationships and steeped in a culture of service and innovation, BCS stands ready to assist customers in Bellingham and throughout the Pacific Northwest.