McDonalds’ plan to add more than 700 restaurants in China by 2013 signals the growing market for cold chain logistics providers.
With the new restaurants, McDonalds' network of 2,000 restaurants in China will still pale in comparison to KFC's 3,200 outlets within the country, but the strong expansion will put new demand on distribution channels from gateways to domestic networks.
"There is no doubt that the reefer import market is growing,” said Eric Eng, vice president at APL. “The middle income group in China is growing, and their disposable income is getting higher and higher.”
Although only a small amount of what should be fully refrigerated moves through the cold chain with correct temperature maintained, the Chinese government’s new five-year plan calls for an expansion of the reefer services, said Troy Shortell, senior vice president for Greater China at Havi Logistics. The German logistics provider orders and owns McDonalds' inventory before it is delivered to the fast food giant.
China’s is the third-largest cold storage market in the world with 61 million cubic meters of capacity, according to the 2010 Global Cold Storage Capacity Report published by the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses.
The development of cold chains in China is covered in this month's edition of Cool Cargoes.