February 19, 2016 5:00 PM, EST

Port of Houston Authority to Expand Cold Storage

The Port of Houston Authority completed negotiations with the AGRO Merchants Group regarding construction and operation of a 300,000-square-foot ,temperature-controlled cargo facility at the port.

The site is expected to be operational by the summer of 2017.

“Developing the refrigerated cargo business has been one of my key initiatives," Port Commission Chairwoman Janiece Longoria said in a statement. "Our central location on the Gulf Coast, our consumer reach of 144 million consumers within 1,000 miles and our ready access to South American sources of produce drive this opportunity.”

Plans call for the new cold storage building to include state-of-the-art warehouse space to handle storage and the import and export of chilled and frozen meat, fish, poultry and produce, the port said.

Inspection and handling facilities for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, blast- freezing cells and deep truck docks with ample doors for shipping and receiving will be included, according to the port.

AGRO Merchants Group owns and operates 53 facilities in eight countries in the United States, Europe and Latin America.