The strong growth of the cold chain in China

Supported by five-year development plans, the field of cold chain logistics is growing strongly in China, as illustrated by the 17% increase in cold storage capacity in 2020 compared to the previous year. 

China is seeking to foster the development of cold chain logistics, as evidenced by the successive five-year development plans for this sector, the latest of which was promulgated last year for the period 2021-2025. This new plan calls for the establishment of a cold chain logistics network that connects production and sales regions, covers urban and rural areas, and links domestic and international markets by 2025. (1) 

Thus, in the field of cold storage, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce reported by JARN (1), China saw its total cold storage capacity reach 60.5 million tons in 2019, an increase of 8.2 million tons and 15.6% compared to 2018. And in 2020, as reported by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), the cold storage capacity in China exceeded 70.8 million tons, indicating a 17.1% year-on-year growth. Furthermore, AskCI Consulting is forecasting that this capacity will reach 84.9 million tons in 2022. 

Storage volumes are broken down into 70% frozen storage and 30% chilled storage.  

At global level, according to GCCA, China was in 3rd position in 2020 in terms of cold storage volume (131 million m3) behind the United States (156 million m3) and India (150 million m3) (2) 

Other figures illustrate the strong growth of the cold chain in China: Report Linker (3) estimates that the cold chain logistics industry market was worth RMB 276.4 billion (USD 43.4 billion) in 2019, growing an annual compound rate (CAGR) of 10.5% between 2010 and 2019. As China’s policy and standards for cold chain become clear, fresh food e-commerce springs up and financial innovations are further made, the cold chain logistics industry of China is expected to reach RMB 512.3 billion (USD 80.5 billion) in 2026, showing a CAGR of 9.4% from 2019 to 2026. 

Cold chain logistics is driven primarily by meat, aquatic products, quick-frozen food, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, among which the fruits and vegetables cold chain is now the largest market segment, and aquatic products have a fast-growing demand. What’s more, medicines, especially vaccines, blood products and diagnostic reagents will be a key growth driver for cold chain logistics. 




(2) JARN, February 2022