Business South May 2021

62 | COOL STORE INDUSTRY Provincial Coldstores Service key for diverse customer base T T Richard Loader Provincial Coldstores’ two Blenheim sites provide total capacity is 14,000 pallets/tonnes at each site, providing a mix of freezers/chillers and ambient storage. INDUSTRIAL & WINERY REFRIGERATION System Design & Build, Supply & Installation, Energy Efficient Engineering, Preventative Maintenance - 24 Hour Service ACTIVE REFRIGERATION MARLBOROUGH LTD (03) 577 7345 Blenheim (03) 544 9139 Nelson A s Blenheim’s commercial landscape has evolved, so too has Provincial Coldstores’ core customer base and the product range stored under refrigeration ready for export or distribution throughout New Zealand. Operating two sites in Blenheim; one at Old Renwick Road and another at Springcreek 8-kilometres down the road, Provincial Cold- stores total capacity is 14,000 pallets/tonnes at each site, providing a mix of freezers/chill - ers and ambient storage. Five blast freezers have capacity to freeze 70 tonnes per day, primarily for export beef. General Manager Donald Horton has been part of Provincial Coldstores journey from the very start in 1990 when a group of enterpris- ing Blenheim businessmen recognised a need for refrigerated storage covering the Marlbor- ough area. Starting out as storeman, Donald’s role has grown as the business has grown encompass- ing a raft of changes in clientele, products, technology and compliance requirements. “Old Renwick Road originally had a couple of empty tin sheds on it that had been part of a lucerne factory. We built two coldstores inside the sheds, providing 1000 tonne of ca- pacity and servicing a variety of products from seafood to vegetables to dairy.” These days Old Renwick Road is mainly used for beef and seafood along with smaller product items like pavlova’s, lamington’s, beer, grape/pine tree plants. The local mussel industry provides a steady stream of work for Donald and his team. Springcreek was initially used for apples but as the region’s viticulture industry developed and blossomed, the site was converted to run- ning chillers for ambient storage. Apples were replaced with different types of packaged wine, barrels or bins of wine. “The wine is mainly packaged in cartons ready for export or it’s tirage for making bubbles. We store that in bins for between two and five years while it ferments. It’s then taken away and disgorged. Sometimes product arrives back to store packaged ready for distribution. With the salt works nearby we also store salt.” Like many coldstores around the country, Provincial Coldstores is currently undergoing conversion from freon refrigerant to ammonia and when two new rooms were recently built at Old Renwick Road an ammonia plant room big enough to cope with the rest of the rooms was also built. “The existing nine rooms still need to be converted to ammonia from freon refrigerant. “That’s a massive project because everything has to be changed over — com- pressors, condensers, pipe work. Effectively you’re starting from scratch. “The next two rooms will be retrofitted for ammonia refrigerant during our off-season in September/November. The remainder of the rooms will be progressively converted over the next two years. We’re talking millions of dollars to do it, but we have to do this because freon is being phased out with global warming.” The region provides loyal customers from the agricultural, viticulture and aquaculture sectors and while there will always be a demand for the sort of storage provided by Provincial Coldstores, good service is key. “In this day and age if you have loyal clients and supply a good service it ticks a lot of boxes.”