Cold Storage

The Preferred Freezer Services cold-storage plant at Lynden was built in 2015. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

Name change will be evident soon, says local manager

LYNDEN ­— The West Main Street plant that still bears the name Preferred Freezer Services has actually been sold as part of a larger deal and will soon show its new name, Lineage Logistics, said local general manager Dan Shuler.

It’s taking Lineage a while to get around to making the branding change at all locations, Shuler said, but it should happen by year’s end.

“I don’t expect a lot of major changes here in Lynden,” Shuler said. “There have been some reporting changes. And, of course, the name change on the side of the building.” 

“I believe Lineage is an outstanding company that is continuing to grow. There have been a few additional purchases of smaller cold storages since the Preferred merger.”

News of the acquisition surfaced last February. The Wall Street Journal reported that Lineage’s purchase of its rival combined the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 refrigerated warehouse providers. 

Although Lineage did not disclose financial terms, the Journal said the deal was worth more than $1 billion.

Lineage continues to invest in next-generation technologies while making advances in intellectual property as well, Lineage officials said in the purchase announcement.

“We are thrilled to welcome Preferred into the Lineage family of companies,” Lineage CEO Greg Lehmkuhl said. “Bringing their first-class management team, deep industry experience and network of strategically located facilities into our organization will enable us to provide best-in-class service offerings for customers worldwide.”

Lineage will have 17 automated facilities with more than 800,000 automated pallet positions, including the two largest automated facilities in the world, the company said. (One of those in Richland, Washington.)

Preferred Freezer, which designs, constructs and maintains state-of-the-art warehouses throughout the United States and Asia, grew from a single facility in 1989 to 39 U.S. locations. It also has centers in China and Vietnam, Lineage said.

However, Lineage Logistics, based in Novi, Michigan, has its own story of speedy growth since founding in 2008, the company said. Customers include major companies such as Perdue Foods and Walmart.

The combined company will result in more than 1.3 billion cubic feet of temperature-controlled capacity at more than 200 facilities. Its global footprint will encompass North America, Europe and Asia.

With the merger, Lineage will lead the refrigerated storage sector, followed by Americold Logistics of Atlanta, which reported 918.7 million cubic feet last year, according to the Global Cold Chain Alliance. Americold also has a facility in Lynden.

Shuler said the Lynden Preferred Freezer plant, built and operational in just six months in 2015, was number 35. Its capacity is 490,860 square feet.

Regionally grown raspberries and blueberries, plus cranberries from lower British Columbia, provide the foundation of the Lynden Lineage plant’s volume, although sea fish products are also stored.