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

Where to buy bulk ice on the Bellingham waterfront

July 20, 2019

Back in 2012, Bellingham Cold Storage opened a completely revamped Ice House capable of producing up to 300 metric tons of ice — roughly equivalent to the weight of two 1,600-square-foot homes — every single day.

That’s a lot of ice.

What is all of this ice produced for? Primarily for fishing vessels heading out to sea; whatever they catch needs to be kept cold until the boat returns to the Port of Bellingham.

Some vessels have refrigerated sea water (RSW) systems to keep their catches cold, but such equipment can be expensive, and not all vessels are outfitted with RSW systems. As an alternative, fishing boats that rely on ice for cold storage can pull right up to the 200-foot dock on the Bellingham waterfront to get loaded up with as much ice as they need from Bellingham Cold Storage.

The amount of ice needed by each vessel depends on a number of factors, including the length of the trip and the amount of seafood expected to be caught. For example, according to one calculation, a boat headed out for four days and expecting to catch 3,000 pounds of fish might want to be loaded with 1.5 to 2 metric tons of flake ice to keep the fish frozen and to compensate for any melting during the trip.

In addition to its daily capacity for creating new flake ice, the BCS Ice House has a holding bin capacity of an additional 250 metric tons. When fishing vessels need ice in the Puget Sound, Bellingham Cold Storage aims to provide it.

The provision of dockside ice for those who need it is just a small part of how customer needs are met at Bellingham Cold Storage.

BCS also provides frozen, chilled and dry storage for farmers and food producers throughout the Pacific Northwest. The company’s favorable location — with warehouses adjacent to Interstate 5, a major rail line, and the Bellingham waterfront — translates to ease of access for those with product stored at or shipping through BCS. Whether your business needs dockside ice for fishing trips or cold storage for worldwide product shipping, BCS has you covered.

Piles of ice inside the ice machine.
Piles of ice inside the ice machine at Bellingham Cold Storage.