Delaware Ports key to Eastern Propak’s success

easternpropak2020 Eastern Propak, a cold-storage warehouse with repacking and bagging capabilities, offers 9,000 pallet positions and 27 loading doors, and is situated only minutes away from the major Delaware ports, offering easy access to all major hubs on the East Coast.

“The Port of Wilmington is extremely important to us,” said Steven Danner, operations manager for the Glassboro, NJ-based company. “The Delaware River ports is where we get 80 percent or more of the imports that come to this facility.”

Although some food does come in through the Port of New York, Danner noted it’s a much smaller percentage and the company relies on all the ports in the state. Thankfully, COVID-19 has not presented too much of a problem with bringing food in.

“I don’t see a dramatic impact in regards to what we do,” he said. “I know the importers we work with have been impacted to some degree, but as far as what we’re doing in terms of historic comparisons, we’re doing what we’ve always done and then some.”

Part of that is thanks to Eastern Propak’s new building that became operational last year.

“All in all, I see our business increasing, not decreasing,” Danner said. “We didn’t get the new building fully operational until February of 2019 and didn’t do a lot of normal increase in business until this past winter with the grapes out of the Southern Hemisphere. Now that we’ve been fully operational for 2020, we’re building on that in the summer season.”

Normally, the company sees a bit of a slowdown in the month of June, but that’s not the case this year.

“We’ve actually seen a pretty significant uptick in June,” Danner said. “I see the summer season stretching into the fall as being very, very active and numbers continuing to go up.”

Thanks to Eastern Propak’s state-of-the-art blueberry packing line, it’s able to pack domestic blueberries for the first time in 2020 with some of the growers in Hammonton, N.J., often considered the Blueberry Capital of the World.

That came about because some of the smaller growers have historically done their own packing and warehousing, but because they are using antiquated equipment, the company was able to work out a better deal for the growers. Plus, offering cold storage, Eastern Propak is able to save the growers inspection and packing costs allowing for better returns.

“We’re running two shifts of packing of domestic blues and we’ll be starting our frozen blues soon,” Danner said. “In addition to that, citrus is extremely strong and we have a significant level of apples and pears on the import scene. We’re pretty darn busy.”

A recent hire at the company is Janni Pieters, who serves as VP of operations.

“He has brought quite a bit to the table making everything we do a little easier,” Danner said.

Looking ahead, the company will continue to make significant capital investments and improve operations where it can.

“There are some fairly significant changes in the industry from what I hear and what I see and we are in the process of putting in another state-of-the-art blueberry line with top seal capabilities,” Danner said. “That’s in addition to the traditional clamshell. That’s both for a food safety perspective and in response to COVID-19. We’re going to be putting blueberries in a complete tamper-proof container.”

tpn daily signup

Ayco reports jump in bagged asparagus sales
Ayco Farms is experiencing a substantial increase in bagged asparagus sales to some of its largest retail customers as consumer trends are changing in today's economy. “Bagged asparagus grabbed attention and seems to have kept traction due to consumer trends and the convenience of packaged produce,” said Avi Nir, Ayco Read More ...
Natural Grocers announces new director
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. announced that David C. Rooney was unanimously elected to the company's board of directors on Aug. 5. Rooney's election filled the vacant seat on the board created by the previously announced retirement of Michael T. Campbell, which was effective Aug. 5.  Rooney will serve an initial Read More ...
New cold storage and cross-docking operation Glacier Peak opens in Washington
Randy Hartmann, co-owner of Glacier Peak, a new cold storage, packing and cross-docking operation in Wapato, WA, announced its acquisition of the 55,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse Washington Harvest. Hartmann shared that "the purchase of this cold storage and packing operation is intended to provide for greater capacity and Read More ...
Keep on organic summer fruit for September success
Summer is cruising by and Stemilt’s Artisan Organics peach and nectarine season is doing the same. Now is the time to plan and push sales starting Labor Day and through the remainder of September, according to Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s senior marketing manager. Retailers should plan ads and focus on creative displays to show off Read More ...
Kroger launches contactless payments pilot in QFC division
The Kroger Co. launched a contactless payments pilot across the QFC division, located in Seattle, WA, allowing customers to use their mobile device for a more seamless checkout experience. The pilot includes the acceptance of Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, mobile banking apps and contactless chip cards, Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse