Construction of a $75 million, 250,000-square-foot cold-storage facility in Long Beach began last month. The facility, a joint effort by Vernon’s Baker Cold Storage and Colton’s Lineage Logistics, will be the largest cold-storage site with rail access near the port, according to the companies.

It’s designed to accommodate fruit and vegetable imports from Peru and Chile as well as prepared beef, pork and chicken to be exported to Asia. It has a capacity for 54 million pounds of food storage and transloading of 2 million pounds a day.

The facility is expected to generate 100 jobs when it opens next spring. About 400 people are expected to be employed through construction.

“It’s very significant because it’s on the overweight corridor,” said Gary Guesman, president of Controlled Environments Construction, developer, designer and builder of the project. “It offers options for local fishermen to freeze their fish.”

The overweight corridor is a restricted area near the port where trucks are allowed to transport containers of between 80,000 and 95,000 pounds, saving transportation fees for cargo owners.

Guesman, who has been building cold-storage facilities for 30 years, said he has seen increased interest in the investment market for these projects as the economy has improved.

“There are a lot of food businesses,” he said. “Real estate people used to shy away from these types of buildings because they didn’t understand them, but now there are a few people who have a fairly good understanding.”

Roadrunner Roll-Up

Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc., a $940 million transportation and logistics company in Cudahy, Wis., has seen an opportunity to expand internationally through L.A. logistics firm Unitrans International Corp.

Roadrunner announced last month that it had acquired Unitrans for $55.5 million. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Unitrans’ top managers, Chief Executive Andrew Schadegg and Executive Vice President Chris Amberg, will remain with the company.

Unitrans, an international ocean and air freight management and custom brokerage agency, mainly handles specialized commodities requiring temperature controls, such as life-science as well as oil and gas products.

“There are tons of international companies that can do general commodities, but there are not many that can handle shipments that need refrigeration, need to be in dry ice or need to be in the air versus ocean,” said Mark DiBlasi, Roadrunner’s chief executive.

Roadrunner has been growing its footprint and services by acquisition since it went public in 2010. It completed more than 20 acquisitions in the past four years. The Unitrans deal was its latest effort to further expand its international reach.

The company will be able to provide its current customers with Unitrans’ expertise while also supporting Unitrans’ growth with its capabilities.

Unitrans had $84 million in revenue last year, and DiBlasi expects it to increase to more than $90 million this year. He also plans to add personnel at the unit, but details were not disclosed.

Parsons Parlay

Pasadena engineering and construction giant Parsons Corp. is expanding its transportation business, one of its four key market areas.

The company announced recently that it had acquired Canada’s Delcan International Corp., an engineering, planning, management and technology firm specializing in transportation projects.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Parsons said Delcan had revenue of $126 million last year. It has 800 employees working from more than 25 locations worldwide, including the United States, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Delcan customers include governments, regional network and transit operators, port authorities, and freight and logistics companies.

“The acquisition of Delcan continues the progression of our corporate objectives through the expansion of our transportation and infrastructure business lines and our suite of technology offerings,” Chuck Harrington, Parsons’ chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The two companies share some roots. Not only have they worked together on many large projects, but Delcan had once been part of DeLeuw Cather & Co., later purchased by Parsons in 1977.

Staff reporter Kay Chinn can be reached at kchinn@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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