NewCold’s North American growth story starts in Tacoma

In six years, NewCold has gone from zero facilities to three of the most state-of-the-art temperature-controlled warehouses in the United States — and a fourth is due to go live in mid-2024.


NewCold was already well-established in Europe when the company built its first tall, highly automated facility in Tacoma, Washington.


January 18, 2024, marked six years of operations since the first pallet was received in 2018. At its founding, NewCold Tacoma stood as one of North America’s most energy-efficient and technologically advanced automated warehouses in the United States.


The realization of NewCold Tacoma stemmed from Founder and CEO Bram Hage’s vision to bring our advanced automated solutions and proprietary tech to one of the largest markets in the world. Hage founded NewCold in 2012 with a mission to build the world’s most customer-centric, advanced, and fully integrated automation and supply chain companies.


As the world’s largest producer and consumer of frozen food, the cold storage market in North America largely consisted of many family-owned regional players with lower levels of technology in use. As such, the North American market was a perfect fit for NewCold’s proprietary state-of-the-art technology and high-level customer service.


Close collaboration with the customer


Through multiple conversations in 2014, the relationship between NewCold and the food producer that would become NewCold Tacoma’s first customer was formed. Jonas Swarttouw, NewCold Executive Vice President Commercial and Chairman, North America, relocated from the Netherlands to the United States the following year to lead the NewCold team and create an intense, close collaboration with the customer. The customer’s team was led by their Chief Financial Officer and Mike Shawgo, who later joined NewCold as Executive Vice President Operations in North America.


“A testament to the teamwork between us was my assignment of a cubicle at their office with my nameplate, enabling a daily collaboration with a diverse team of our customer that went on for months,” said Swarttouw.


This dynamic partnership facilitated the creation of the joint knowledge base and trust that led to a generational automated cold store project, enabling consolidation of their network and simplifying their complex supply chain.


“It was an amazing experience to be part of the entire process of rethinking the [customer’s] supply chain and bringing the cold store to reality,” added Swarttouw.


“Two companies that shared values and visions came together to create NewCold Tacoma,” said Shawgo. “It was critical for us as the customer to find a cold storage partner that believed in world-class service, as well as create an environment for employees to contribute and grow in the business. Those were two critical values at the core of the partnership,” said Shawgo.


Three members of today’s NewCold North American Regional Management Team were all involved in the creation of the Tacoma facility, at the time each was in a different organization. Reflecting on where we are today in NewCold’s journey, we recognize that Shawgo (at the customer), Josh Currie (at the contractor), and Jonas Swarttouw (at NewCold) were all key players in these initial stages of NewCold’s entry into North America.





“Tacoma was the seed that was planted that made our North America region what it is today. Not only in the formation of our leadership team but in the sites that followed,” says Josh Currie, who was then part of the general contractor’s team for NewCold Tacoma and today serves as NewCold Executive Vice President of Development. The story of NewCold Tacoma is the beginning of NewCold North America. What began as one site in the Pacific Northwest of the United States would have long-lasting implications on the future of cold storage across the continent, as well as the future of NewCold as an organization.


“We knew it was the beginning of something big, and that we had to get through the challenges that were ahead,” said Matt Richardson, NewCold Commercial Manager, and previous Tacoma Site Manager.


During NewCold Tacoma’s development, the team encountered hurdles demanding flexibility, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. Team members had to operate outside of job descriptions and dedicate themselves completely to meeting the customer’s needs. It took a total focus on the end goal, gritted determination, and an all-in team effort to get Tacoma operational and successful.


Tacoma on target as next generation of talent rises


Today, Tacoma serves five customers and is operating at full capacity. Over the last six years, the site has shipped and received more than 3.4 million pallets and over five billion pounds. It consistently meets operational KPIs and business goals, and in 2023 achieved 99.52% on-time loading for all customers.


The achievements of NewCold Tacoma are a testament to the strong employee culture and growth opportunities available within the organization. Twelve of the original NewCold Tacoma hires are still on site today and the facility is run almost exclusively by a second-generation talent group. NewCold Tacoma site leaders were given opportunities for advancement and the ability to grow into their current roles due to NewCold’s environment of continuous learning and development.


“The site has come full circle to a very confident second-generation talent pool that’s hitting targets at every level,” said Richardson. “And customers are really happy and satisfied with their leadership.”


NewCold Tacoma’s success has been instrumental in setting the standard in North America and leading the way to further growth. Subsequent facilities have opened in  with a facility in McDonough, Georgia currently under construction.


“The DNA of Tacoma is felt and seen throughout NewCold North America,” said Shawgo. “The company celebrated 64 internal promotions and transfers in 2023—employees from Tacoma can be found in Lebanon, Indiana, Atlanta, Georgia, and our regional organization. These team members bring the core values and the NewCold way of working to our operations all over North America. Our Service and People culture is the foundation of our growth, and Tacoma team members moving to new operations is a testament to that.”


For press inquiries contact Marvin David Meintjies: [email protected]

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