Royal Cargo, Inc. recently inaugurated its P2-billion cargo facility in Plaridel, Bulacan, by far the end-to-end solutions provider’s largest and most modern distribution hub aimed at providing efficient distribution channels in the Philippines’ Northern Luzon region.
Cargo City North Hub spans 6.6 hectares, which includes a 12,760-square-meter (sqm) cold chain facility with 14,000 pallet positions, a 1.7-hectare container freight station that can accommodate 1,700 to 2,000 containers, an 8,000 sqm dry warehouse, and the hub’s own wastewater treatment facility, Royal Cargo said in a statement.
The cold storage warehouse consists of 14 expansive temperature-controlled rooms, which have two blast-freezing rooms and an 800 sqm food processing area. It also has 18 loading bays, of which two are specifically for halal products.
Cargo City North Hub is supported by a large fleet of more than 300 units of 1-ton, 2-ton, 20-foot and 40-foot high-cube reefer vans equipped with generator sets specifically designed for Philippine requirements.
Royal Cargo said the hub, which is currently the only self-contained facility in the country, carries an extensive cold supply chain solutions portfolio that can handle the distribution requirements of chilled and frozen goods nationwide. It also complements other fully operational cold chain facilities of the company, including two in Biñan, Laguna, and one in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Like the company’s other facilities, the new hub adheres to international green building standards. The warehouse was built with eco-friendly construction materials and has a solar panel-ready roof deck. The solar panels are scheduled to be installed by September this year.
“The growing trend for food, beverage and social entertainment spending has brought tremendous opportunities to the cold chain industry. This Cargo City North Hub is our answer to the increasing demands in the food sector, particularly in Mega Manila, Northern and Central Luzon, Clark and Subic,” Royal Cargo group chief executive officer Michael Raeuber said.
“We see better years ahead in the industry, and opening the North Hub is our way of gearing up to sustain our supply chain operations for the long term,” Raeuber added.
Royal Cargo president Elmer Sarmiento said: “We are excited to jumpstart our operations here in our new Cargo City North Hub. The Philippines has a huge potential to become a major logistics hub by 2020. We believe that this new hub will take us one step closer to helping companies across the country achieve growth and expand to new markets such as the Asia-Pacific region.”
In an interview with media after the inauguration on July 18, Sarmiento said the Cargo City North Hub differs from the usual cold storages because it is designed as a cross-docking facility to facilitate fast movement of shipments. He noted that the hub’s design was based on Royal Cargo’s experiences with building and operating warehouses and cold chain facilities.
Further, Raeuber said, the new facility will be equipped with individual quick freezing (IQF) technology to efficiently freeze fruits and vegetables. Raeuber said this technology can open up new opportunities for the country’s export industry, especially in fruits and vegetables. The IQF can also be used for other food products such as some kinds of meat and fishes.
Sarmiento said the IQF allows longer freezing time, making the country’s fruit and vegetable products competitive since they will remain fresh even when shipping time takes a month, such as when going to western markets.
Sarmiento noted that some big banana producers in Mindanao already have IQF for their produce, but Royal Cargo wants to make it available to others, such as mango producers in Luzon who have been pushing the company for an IQF.
He continued that Royal Cargo is just finishing a study on IQF before making its purchase, and that the new hub already has the facility for it.
Royal Cargo’s next expansion efforts include the ground-breaking of its 3.6-hectare property in Cordova, Cebu, which features a 9,000 sqm covered warehouse, and its 12-hectare South Luzon Hub. Growth hubs are likewise planned for Davao, Iloilo and Bacolod.
Royal Cargo now operates a string of warehouses in major growth areas such Cavite, Laguna, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan, Mega Manila, and now in Central and Northern Luzon.
To further boost its supply chain business, Royal Cargo now operates two CV 1,100 vessels. The company has also bought more than 1,200 brand new container vans, ISO tanks and reefer containers. More acquisitions are in the pipeline this year.
Aside from warehousing and cold chain services, Royal Cargo provides international and domestic freight forwarding, supply chain/logistics, projects and heavylift, business process outsourcing, customs brokerage, liquid transportation, shipping agencies and trucking services, and logistics solutions for clinical research and development—with owned equipment and facilities.
The company currently operates in the Philippines and in 13 other countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Guam, Palau, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. – Roumina Pablo