Here is a recent article featuring the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage and a few comments from the president of the facility, Chuck McCarthy.

WILMINGTON — Persistent rain over the last several weeks has slowed construction of a cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington, but the building should be open by mid-April, according to the company that will operate the new facility.

“The rain is slowing us down a bit,” said Chuck McCarthy, president and partner of Wilmington Cold Storage, a subsidiary of USA Investco. “If you think about the last month, it’s rained just about every other day.”

McCarthy isn’t kidding. The region has had nearly twice its normal rainfall since Sept. 1, with nearly 25 inches having fallen as compared to an average rainfall of around 13 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

“If it stops raining … we’ll be back to doing what we need to do,” McCarthy said.

While a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in June, actual construction work by Arco Design/Build, Atlanta, began in mid-August, McCarthy said.

As of last week, the skeleton of a small structure, concrete footers and stub walls had been built.

“We’re progressing nicely with construction,” McCarthy said.

Once completed, the facility will house primarily food waiting to be exported, he said. The facility will mean the state’s producers of protein products, including pork and poultry, can ship from Wilmington rather than a port in another state.

“We can really save the producer a lot of money in exporting their product,” McCarthy said.

“The Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility represents a tremendous opportunity for the North Carolina State Ports Authority,” ports spokesman Cliff Pyron said. “North Carolina ranks in the top five nationally in pork, turkey, poultry and sweet potato production. We’ll be targeting those markets on the export side as well as the seafood, fruit and vegetable industries on the import side.”

McCarthy’s company envisions opening the warehouse with 50 jobs and roughly 100,000 square feet of storage space — with future expansion and job growth forecast in coming years.

The $14.5-million project is being partly financed by Chinese investors as part of a federal program known as the Immigrant Investor Program, or “EB-5,” where foreign nationals receive a U.S. green card for investing their money.

Contact Tim Buckland at 910-343-2217 or [email protected].