When Wakefern Food Corp. searched for a site for a new food distribution warehouse, company officials looked no farther than Newark, where the retail and wholesale grocery cooperative is building a $65 million food warehouse in a redevelopment project on the site of the Newark Farmers Market.
The 180,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled distribution facility will serve ShopRite and PriceRite stores in the Northeast. The new distribution center is managed by Forem Facility Management for Wakefern Food Corp.
“The facility is going to be a refrigerated warehouse, incorporating many green capabilities, including solar panels on the roof and machinery operated by hydrogen fuel cells,” says David Forem, project coordinator for Newark Farmers Market. "In the first year alone, we are going to create 140 jobs and the next years to come we are going to create an additional 250-plus jobs."
Wakefern's new distribution facility will be one of thousands already in New Jersey that take advantage of the transportation and logistics infrastructure that literally connects the state to the world.
The state is home to 585 million square feet of warehouse space connected to 36,000 miles of interstates and highways, over which more than 500,000 trucks move each day. These routes connect to three major port facilities that rank at the top in moving motor vehicle and containerized shipments. Goods moving by sea can travel on Class I rail connections and trucks via the interstate highway network.
Several large corporations have major distribution operations in the state, including hhgregg, Toys "R" Us, Home Depot and Coca Cola Enterprises,
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $10 billion on infrastructure improvements that will benefit cargo movement throughout the region.
"For businesses looking for transportation for cargo and passengers and access to extraordinarily educated people, the Port Authority is the leading transportation and economic engine of the region," says Bill Baroni, deputy executive director.
Bulk and break bulk cargo moves through the ports of the South Jersey Port Corp. in Camden, including wood, steel and a recent record-setting shipment of cocoa beans. The port uses rail and highway connections to move goods throughout the country, and is investing in new and upgraded infrastructure. The new Paulsboro Marine Terminal is scheduled to open in 2013.
"We try to give private industry and ourselves in the public sector a platform to create jobs and business opportunities that are related to international trade and waterborne commerce," says Kevin Castagnola, executive director and CEO.
On the Move
The state also boasts major airport facilities, including Newark Liberty International, the 12th-busiest in the U.S. and 29th-busiest airport in the world. Newark Liberty offers a full range of domestic and international flights; Federal Express operates a freight terminal at the airport.
More than 40 percent of the U.S. population lies within one day's drive of the Garden State, as do $2 trillion in annual consumer purchases.
Atlantic City International Airport, operated by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, handled more than 1.4 million passengers in 2011. The airport offers direct service to Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach and several South Florida cities, and added service to Atlanta in May 2012.
With a full range of transportation assets and connections to world markets, it's no wonder that Area Development magazine named New Jersey among the top 10 in the nation for port facilities and distribution and logistics locations.