Coming to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in 2009 is a new marine facility which will be an enclosed “seafood sorting atrium and it will be completely refrigerated as well. Laine Welch in her weekly column, “Fish Factor” explains the details…
“We looked at this and said things need to be done better at our nation’s #1 port fishing port. You simply cannot continue doing business across these docks and especially without a modern cold storage,” said Per Brautaset, vice president of DH Ports LLC, builder and operator of the $150 million multi-use facility. The company has a 100 year lease agreement with Western Pioneer for the property located at Dutch Harbor Bay.
A 30,000 ton capacity cold storage will allow more time for companies and individuals to add value to their catches. More importantly, the storage will provide them with more shipping options.
“It will allow some breathing room for a company to offload their products and wait a few weeks to figure out where the best markets are. Now many fishing companies are at the mercy of whatever transportation companies come in,” Brautaset said The cold storage will also help relieve the drain on electric power by the more than 1,000 seafood freezer vans in lots dotting the island that are kept running round the clock.
“One of the biggest problems is the high energy costs from always running on peak power. It affects the entire community,” Brautaset said.
DH Port’s new docks will finally give a breather to boats who must now jockey for space and services. Most of the boats come to port laden with boxes of frozen fillets or crab and must be stacked outside awaiting transport to world markets.
At the DH Ports facility the boats will be able to offload directly into an enclosed sorting atrium.
“”Fishermen and companies work hard to produce the very best quality product. It’s a real shame to see these products get compromised in their handling,” Brautaset said.
One of the biggest complaints seafood customers in Europe and Japan is the condition of the packaging.
“Many buyers have very tight quality controls and all of a sudden they see these products coming from Dutch Harbor that look like hell. The product on the inside is top quality and the best in the world. But it is totally deficient in the way it is presented,” he said.
“What is needed immediately to support the seafood industry in Dutch Harbor and Alaska in general is finding ways to enhance value, and putting out a product that is at the forefront of quality assurance and security requirements, Brautaset added.
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