Cold storage capacity grows steadily

The 2016 Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) Global Cold Storage Capacity Report showed that cold storage capacity has experienced steady growth since 2014, the last time the survey was conducted.

According to the report, total capacity was 600 million cubic meters in 2016, an increase of 8.6% since 2014. The data also revealed that much of the gain in refrigerated warehousing space came from new construction in emerging markets.

“It’s exciting to see such strong growth and new construction around the world,” said Corey Rosenbusch, president and chief executive officer of GCCA. “We have been watching the shift in capacity as a product of middle-class growth in emerging markets like China and India even as consolidation occurs in other developed markets.”

Construction also occurred in markets that previously had little cold storage capacity—namely Uzbekistan and Turkey. The United States, Mexico, and Canada each indicated growth in refrigerated warehouse capacity since 2014. Reports from Europe, however, indicated that refrigerated warehouse space declined in 2016 in several nations. Turkey and Great Britain were exceptions. Great Britain’s expansion was largely due to retailers’ construction of distribution centers for private use.

Written by Dr Victoria Salin, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, the 30-page report includes analyses on growth trends in global capacity, market development indicators, and characteristics of refrigerated warehouses worldwide.

This report features cold storage market data on 52 nations. During the past two years, about 11 million cubic meters of refrigerated warehouse capacity has been added to the GCCA database from countries that were included for the first time in 2016. Newly added countries were South Korea, Peru, Mauritius, Ecuador, and Kenya.

“Having tracked the trends in refrigerated warehousing for several years, we are now able to establish that large-format supermarket retailing is a leading indicator of warehousing in nearly all countries (India is the exception),” said Salin.

“In countries where the rate of supermarket expansion exceeded 25% per year, the refrigerated warehouse market penetration per capita grew by 20% or better,” she said. “This analysis gives insight on the consumer and points out the countries where refrigerated warehouse capacity has not kept pace with the growing population.”

The report is available to IARW members as a benefit of membership and for a fee to non-members. Contact GCCA at +1-703-373-4300 or [email protected]

For more information about GCCA, see

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