Global Food Supply Goals Are Fueling The Refrigerated Warehouse Industry

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JLL Indianapolis Research
When we open the door and look at the food in our refrigerators, we often don’t consider the complex chain of logistics that are involved in getting it there. The process of getting fresh food into our homes requires a continuous source of coldness that extends from chilled packing plants and food factories, to a network of chilled warehouses, to fleets of refrigerated trucks and trains, all the way to grocery store aisles.

This intricate network is known as the cold chain, which is a supply chain that involves mechanically maintaining a low temperature throughout in order to slow the growth of bacteria and rot. In turn, this allows for a wider variety of foods to reach people at greater distances around the world. The cold chain is a vital piece of our world’s food supply.

For this reason, the sophisticated network of refrigerated warehouses which includes local supply and distribution centers is crucial to the transportation of food across the world. These warehouses are especially important as we move into the future. A recent goal to increase food productivity by 70 percent by 2050 to support the world’s growing population is encouraging expansion within the logistics sector in order to meet these demands.

With these sizable productivity targets, the refrigerated warehouse industry is seeing opportunities to expand. In fact, the world is already seeing a significant increase in capacity. In 2014, the total capacity of refrigerated warehouses was estimated at 552 million cubic meters worldwide, which showed an increase of nearly 92 million cubic meters (20%) since 2012. Additionally, according to IBIS World: “The storage of goods was anticipated to generate about 66.3% of [Refrigerated Storage] industry revenue in 2015.”

The forecast for expansion in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, which is already home to several major food storage facilities, is favorable. Food storage facilities located close to cities boast a competitive advantage, as they make for more efficient transportation of goods that have a time-sensitive shelf life. Centrally located near major freeways and airports, cold storage warehouses in the Indianapolis-area are positioned to facilitate increases in food productivity in the US and around the world.

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