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New cold storage facilities open at the Mariposa port of entry in Nogales

Public officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to inaugurate two cold storage rooms at a port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. They are the first such facilities on the Arizona-Sonora border.

The new cold storage facilities at the Mariposa port of entry are expected to make the Nogales border crossing a more appealing option for exporters sending perishable goods to the United States.

"It’s the ability to become more competitive against other corridors. It’s the ability to now attract new companies that would not have looked at our corridor because we did not have this capability," said Luis Ramirez, an adviser for the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, which hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new cold bays provide a temperature-controlled environment for customs inspections of berries, avocados, shrimp and other goods that could be damaged by the Arizona heat, he said. That puts Nogales on par with ports in California, Texas and New Mexico with cold storage capabilities.

The construction of the two cold rooms cost $900,000 invested by the state of Arizona, Santa Cruz County and the Nogales U.S. Customshouse Brokers Association.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.