Able Freight is one of North America’s leading perishable logistics providers, touting more
than 20 years of experience and cold storage warehouses in Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Central Mexico and Hawaii.
Though Able Freight continually sets the pace in the industry, CFO Jim Pope recognized a
need for precooling and recooling at the company’s Honolulu facility. Pope had two
requirements in a new precooler – power and portability.
“We get fresh produce off planes and trucks that needs to be cooled in a hurry,” said Pope.
“And we didn’t have a space in Honolulu to designate a whole separate room for precooling.”
Pope said the cooler in Honolulu is only about 6,000 square feet. Due to space limitations, the
room has to be used for different purposes at different times.
The Honolulu facility is located just down the road from an airport cargo facility where Able
Freight’s shipments arrive, most often from its warehouses in California.
Kapu Kiyuna, Able Freight’s station manager in Honolulu, said coolers at the airport have to
accommodate a wide variety of different products. Therefore they’re usually kept between
50-60 degrees Fahrenheit – much too high a temperature to maintain the cold chain for
perishables like berries and mushrooms stored at Able Freight.
Kiyuna, who joined Able Freight in 2012, said they don’t like to leave their cargo at the airport and will pick it up themselves. “We’ll do the extra handling to pick it up to make sure it retains its temperature,’ she said.
“Time is very important in perishables,” added Pope. “The quicker you can cool it down the
longer it’s going to last. The longer you keep [produce] in a refrigerated environment, the
longer the product is going to last and the better it’s going to taste.”
Based on a recommendation from one of Able Freight’s customers, Pope reached out to
Global Cooling Inc. The Philadelphia-based company manufactures the Jet-Ready Precooler,
one of the world’s most powerful precoolers.
Built with two 10-horsepower motors supplying the power to two specially designed fans, the
forced air cooling tunnel moves twice as much as air as the standard farm-built unit.
After discussions with Global Cooling’s President, Jim Still, Pope had a Jet Precooler ordered
to Honolulu in January.
“I’ve got to say, the power is impressive,” Pope said. “It pumps out a lot of wind. That thing
moves a lot of air in a hurry.”
Kiyuna said the precooler was set up in the facility’s refrigerated warehouse, where the
temperature usually sits at about 33-35 degrees Fahrenheit They then leave pallets of
produce in front of the precooler for a few hours before repacking it and sending the cargo
off to customers on the neighboring Hawaiian islands.
“A lot of our customers want to make sure that the produce stays in the cold chain,” Kiyuna
said. “It’s an added feature that we can sell to our customers.”
The Jet Precooler can also easily be moved around the facility with a forklift. Kiyuna said
electrical outlets were installed all around the warehouse so the precooler could be used
“It’s so convenient,” added Kiyuna. “Depending on how much product we have holding in our
warehouse, we can set it up pretty much anywhere in our refrigerated warehouse.”
Able Freight also recently opened another cold storage facility in Kona – Hawaii’s main island.
Kiyuna said Able Freight now has the only refrigeration unit at Kona’s main airport.
While Kiyuna said she is thrilled with the precooling upgrade made in Honolulu, she would
like to see the facility expand even further in the future.
“I know we can go bigger,” she said.