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China's Cold Chain Logistics Industry Faces Three Major Challenges


China's cold chain logistics began in the 1960s, mainly targeting meat, poultry, and aquatic products. At that time, in order to ensure market supply and regulate the off-season and peak seasons, large-scale cold storage was built in major domestic production areas and large cities, and was connected by railway refrigerated vehicles and river refrigerated ships.

With the reform and opening up and economic development, in the mid-1990s, supermarket chains appeared in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. In order to sell various frozen and refrigerated foods required by the market, supermarkets widely used various types of advanced refrigerators; The provision and improvement of retail terminal cold chain has accelerated the development, manufacturing, and construction of equipment and technology in all aspects of the cold chain. At this time, the truly modern food cold chain began to emerge and develop in China.

Development needs to face five major challenges

Nowadays, China's cold chain industry is making great strides with the support of policies. However, due to its late start, many industry issues have not yet been thoroughly resolved, and there is still a large gap between China and the developed countries in the world. With the rapid expansion of the market and enterprises, the five major issues restricting the development of the industry have always been to be resolved.

1. The cold chain system has not yet been completed

Currently, about 85% of meat, 77% of aquatic products, and 95% of vegetables and fruits in China are basically transported and sold at room temperature. Each year, only about 12 million tons of fruits and 130 million tons of vegetables decay, causing serious economic losses. In developed countries, Canada has formed a complete cold chain logistics system for agricultural products, with vegetable logistics losses of only 5%. Currently, the establishment of China's cold chain system requires strong government support.

2. Cold chain facilities are relatively backward

In recent years, China's cold chain infrastructure has been growing rapidly. However, compared to China's huge population base, the per capita share of resources such as cold storage and refrigerated vehicles is still low. Some of the infrastructure is outdated and unevenly distributed, requiring urgent upgrading and transformation. Refrigerated transportation is an important link in cold chain logistics. China's cold chain logistics is mainly concentrated in railway and highway transportation. As of 2011, there were 645000 railway freight cars and 6152 refrigerated trucks nationwide, accounting for less than 1% of the total number of railway freight cars. The number of road refrigerated vehicles is around 50000, accounting for only 0.3% of freight vehicles. From the perspective of transportation, limited by factors such as China's railway resources, it is difficult to coordinate railway refrigerated transportation and highway refrigerated transportation, seriously affecting the efficiency of refrigerated transportation.

3. The development of cold chain third-party logistics lags behind

At present, the basic situation of the development of third-party cold chain logistics in China is the coexistence and progress of third-party logistics enterprises with food production enterprises as the parent and independent third-party logistics companies. Professional third-party cold chain logistics accounts for about 20%, mainly small and medium-sized enterprises, lacking industry competitiveness. In addition, the logistics of most perishable foods is operated by producers, processors, and retailers themselves, greatly hindering the cost effectiveness of the cold chain market and the development of third-party cold chain logistics enterprises.
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