The "2016 Global Cold Storage Capacity Report," produced by the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), Alexandria, Va., 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 increase 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,” says Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO, 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 experienced 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 countries, with the exception of Turkey and Great Britain. The expansion in Great Britain was largely due to retailers’ construction of distribution centers for private use.

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

The report features cold storage market data on 52 countries. During the last two years, approximately 11 million cubic meters of additional refrigerated warehouse capacity has been added to the GCCA database from countries that were included for the first time in 2016. The 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),” Salin says. “In countries where the rate of supermarket expansion exceeded 25% per year, the refrigerated warehouse market penetration per capita grew by 20% or better. This analysis gives insight on the consumer and points out the countries where refrigerated warehouse capacity has not kept pace with the growing population.”

For more on cold storage construction trends, look for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ annual Cold Storage Construction Guide, which publishes in the September 2016 issue.