Aerial image shows large 'ICE' sign atop a building at Bellingham Cold Storage.

Leased warehousing provides a logistical advantage

February 9, 2019

Ever wonder what goes on behind the gates at Bellingham Cold Storage?

A lot.

After all, BCS does cold storage warehousing and so much more; it’s a full-service shipping, storing and receiving company that also offers manufacturing space for companies that want prime access to a West Coast port — the largest portside cold storage on the entire Pacific coast of the United States.

Bellingham Cold Storage provides third-party logistics (3PL) services for companies doing business in Whatcom County, Washington state, the United States of America, Canada and around the world. BCS operates storage warehouses for a plethora of foods — dry, chilled and frozen — and a variety of dry goods as well.

On the Bellingham waterfront, BCS has a 50-year lease with the Port of Bellingham for all of the space it occupies. They don’t own the land, but they have permission to use it for a very long time. Anything built there, including the buildings and other improvements, is BCS property, and BCS serves as the primary landlord for all businesses that occupy warehouse, manufacturing or shipping space there.

At its second campus in Bellingham, WA, on Orchard Drive close to Interstate 5, BCS owns the land as well as the buildings.

A prime place for seafood companies

A number of major food companies occupy space at Bellingham Cold Storage. Many are seafood companies, such as Trident Seafoods and Home Port Seafoods, who by leasing space from BCS can take advantage of a logistically favorable proximity to shipping, whether in from the waters of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean or out to locations all over the world.

On-site blast freezing and tunnel freezing services, which are provided by BCS, allow companies to individually quick freeze (IQF) the perishable products they harvest from the ocean or land and then store them in BCS frozen food warehouses.

Companies such as Trans-Ocean Products lease space at the BCS Orchard facility as well for the same reasons of access and convenience. According to the Trans-Ocean Products website: “Our location in Bellingham, Washington was selected for its proximity to the cold, clean waters of Alaska from which our key raw materials are sourced. In an area known for its fresh air, beautiful coastline and mountain views, we also found a skilled and committed work force that has proven to be the very foundation of our success.”

A West Coast port for Canadian manufacturers

Other tenants include food manufacturing organizations such as Nanak Foods, which has been leasing 40,000 square feet of space from Bellingham Cold Storage since 2017. By locating manufacturing at BCS, Nanak Foods — which is headquartered in Surrey, British Columbia — benefits from a strong U.S. dollar while taking advantage of prime shipping access to Asia via the Pacific Ocean. A number of companies have leased perishable food processing space at BCS for just this reason — it’s a West Coast port with excellent access to global shipping channels by sea, road and rail, and the available space allows Canadian companies to build new, customized manufacturing plants in the United States.

Inventory management and retrieval

Farmers, seafood harvesters and food manufacturers also store their products at BCS because it’s just plain easy. Thanks to the company’s proprietary WebOPTICS warehouse management system, customers have 24/7 online access to the products they have stored in Bellingham Cold Storage’s four-temperature warehouses, with real-time inventory counts and storage information. When customers need access to their products for shipping or delivery, they can just punch a few buttons and have BCS workers grab the product and get it ready for transport.

Altogether, it’s a complicated process made seamless by Bellingham Cold Storage’s years of experience and industry expertise.

As BCS CEO Doug Thomas once told Bob Pritchett for the Bellingham Wins website, cold storage is serious business: “The cold storage industry today, with all the food safety issues and all the thousands of items, is way more complicated and sophisticated than it used to be. It’s a serious business—it’s the food supply across the world. The world’s food supply has to be safe, clean, neat, and tidy.”

That’s exactly what Bellingham Cold Storage offers its many customers, whether on the waterfront or inland near I-5. Flexible warehousing options and custom manufacturing space that’s safe and clean to handle food – and other – supplies from all over the world for people all over the world.