Figures: China: Cold chain

China has become the largest food producing and consuming country in the world: both national production and consumption figures account for about 1/4 of the corresponding global figures and the proportion is still rising rapidly. According to Ruhe Xie*, total output of all perishable foodstuffs has reached approximately 800 million tons per year, with a demand for transportation of perishable goods between provinces reaching about 250 million tons. The volume of transported perishable goods makes up only 1/2 of the demand. Around 80% of such goods are transported by road.* Due to high transportation costs, overall logistics costs account for 32% of the food price in developed countries, and 50% of that in China.* Because of the shortage in technical equipment and infrastructure and the absence of a reliable cold chain the development of Chinese agriculture and the food industry have been greatly restricted, and the loss of perishable foods in circulation after harvest is huge (25%-35% of fruit and vegetables, and 10%-15% of meat and aquatic products are lost in distribution). Food-industry executives estimate that the overall loss between farm and fork amounts to 30%, i.e. USD 10 000 million.* Today, China has about 30 000 refrigerated trucks and 7000 railway refrigerated cars, 7 million m3 cold storage. To serve China's growing middle class with effective safety levels, China would need 365 000 refrigerated trucks and 140 million m3 cold storage by 2017. It seems that much is to be done in order to set up reliable cold chains; however, there are clear signs that things are starting to change: for example, China's first standards on cold-chain logistics and temperature-control requirements took effect in October 2007 in Shanghai and research is being actively performed on refrigerated transportation. * Refrigerated Transportation, Energy Consumption and Food supply in China. Ruhe Xie, Guangzhou University, China, IEA Heat Pump Centre Newsletter - No. 2/2007