Datex Fast Facts | What’s Hot About The Cold Chain and Cold Storage Warehousing

Find out interesting facts about a wide variety of topics ranging from the cold chain to 3PL cold warehouse operations.

Cold storage and cold chain industries are fascinating and vital parts of the global supply chain. Both industries play a crucial role in within a specific period of time – preserving perishable goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, during transportation and storage.

The cold storage and cold chain industries add an extra layer of complexity to this task. In this blog, we will explore some of the most intriguing statistics and facts about the cold warehousing storage and cold chain industries, including market size, growth projections, and major players.


Cool Facts About Cold Storage Warehousing

Cold storage warehousing is an essential component of the global supply chain, providing a safe and efficient way to store perishable goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. In cold warehousing facilities, goods are stored at specific temperatures to maintain their quality and safety. The cold process of storing plays a critical role in preserving the quality of perishable goods, extending their shelf life, and reducing waste.

The industry is constantly evolving, with technological advancements such as automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), and real-time monitoring and tracking systems improving the efficiency and safety of the cold warehousing process. Let’s explore some of the most intriguing and fun statistics and facts about the cold warehousing industry.

      • The average age of a US cold warehouse worker is 42 years. 78% of them were built before the year 2000
      • The three states with the highest cold warehouse storage volume: California, Washington, and Florida
      • The first cold warehousing facility was established in Australia in 1861.
      • 2800 Polar Wayis a cold warehouse facility located in Richland, Washington. It is both the largest refrigerated warehouse and the largest automated freezer on Earth.
      • The current occupancy rate for cold warehouses is 85%. This is considered full capacity.
      • In 2022, the global cold storage market was valued at $138.97 billion
      • The United States has the largest cold warehouse storage capacity in the world, with over 1800 facilities.
      • According to the Global Cold Storage Warehousing Market Report, the industry’s market size is estimated to reach $312 billion by 2026
      • The United States remains the largest market for cold warehouse facilities, accounting for approximately 28% of the global market share in 2021.
      • Speculative cold warehouse construction underway in the U.S. grew from 300,000 square feet in 2019 to 3.3 million square feet as of Spring 2022.
      • The global refrigerated warehousing and storage market grew from $156.19 billion in 2022 to $170.65 billion in 2023
      • Today’s global cold warehouse storage construction market is valued at US$ 13.4 billion. It is projected to rise to $49.6 billion by the end of 2033.
      • Public warehouse capacity accounts for around 75% of the gross refrigerated storage capacity in the U.S. – A public warehouse is operated as an independent business that offers various services, such as handling, storage, and transportation for a fixed or variable fee.
      • The frozen segment led the global refrigerated warehouse market and accounted for about 77.3% share of the global revenue in 2022 – The increased consumption of frozen foods in emerging markets, such as India and China, is driving the frozen food segment.
      • According to Caldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE), the demand for cold warehouses space will rise by 100 million square feet during the next five years. That’s an increase of roughly 47% from the current level of 214 million square feet.
      • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. currently has 3.7 billion cubic feet of gross refrigerated storage capacity, up by 2.2% from 2020, according to the USDA.
      • Cold storage facilities can cost between $250 to $350 per square foot to build. These numbers are two to three times more expensive per square foot than traditional warehouses

Four companies currently control 73.4% of all refrigerated warehouse space in North America.

 Lineage Logistics – 2,595,591,444 square feet

Americold Logistics – 1,411,281,320 square feet

United States Cold Storage, Inc. – 423,328,669 square feet

NewCold Cooperatief U.A. – 215,124,000 square feet

  • Lineage and Americold account for 71% of total cold warehouse facilities space in the U.S.
  • The use of cold storage technologies in production stores is expected to surge at a CAGR of 15%.
  • Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) enable three times more storage density than ordinary cold distribution centers and storage warehouses facilities offer.
  • Mobile racking systems as a cold storage warehousing solution can save 40% floor space and increase overall storage capacity by 80%


Fast Facts about The Cold Storage Labor Force

 The cold industry labor force is made up of individuals who work in a variety of roles, including warehouse associates, forklift operators, technicians, and management professionals. Working in cold warehousing facilities requires specialized skills, such as operating and maintaining refrigeration systems, managing inventory, and ensuring product quality and safety. Let’s take a closer look at some facts about the cold storage labor force.

  • There are over 3,867 cold storage workers currently employed in the United States.
  • 13.1% of all cold warehouse storage workers are women, while 86.9% are men
  • The average age of an employed cold warehouse worker is 42 years old
  • Cold warehouse storage workers are most in-demand in Decorah, Iowa
  • 52% of cold warehouse workers stay at their job for less than 1 year.
  • Cold storage warehouse labor is expensive. In fact, it can account for up to 70% of the total costs of warehouse operations.
  • According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1993, no worker can be made to work inside a cold warehouse storage unit that has a temperature ranging between -18°C and -37°C for more than a period of 50 minutes at a stretch, without allowing a 10-minute break at the room temperature.


Hot Facts About the Cold Chain

The cold chain process starts from the point of production or harvest and extends through transportation, warehousing, and distribution to the end consumer. The industry faces unique challenges, including maintaining temperature-controlled environments, complying with regulatory standards, and ensuring timely and efficient delivery of goods. Technological advancements in refrigeration systems, tracking and monitoring devices, and automation have improved the efficiency and sustainability of the cold chain process, making it an increasingly attractive investment for companies in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Here are several interesting facts about the cold chain industry.

  • In 1930, Frederick Jones designed and patented the first automatic mechanical refrigerated truck. By the late 1930s, refrigerated rail cars and trucks were carrying perishable foods long distances.
  • The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 enabled rapid growth of the cold chain industry.
  • The North America cold chain market size reached US$ 67.1 Billion in 2022
  • The global cold chain market is expected to reach USD 447.50 billion by 2025
  • The global cold chain logistics market was worth almost 248.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is expected to exceed 410 billion U.S. dollars by 2028.
  • The European cold chain logistics market was worth over 75 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and is expected to reach 112.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
  • By 2026, the global healthcare cold chain logistics market is forecasted to reach 17.4 billion U.S. dollars.
  • The cold chain monitoring market is projected to reach $10.2 billion by 2026

Environmental Sustainability in the Cold Industry

 Environmental sustainability is an important consideration in the cold storage and cold chain industries. The use of energy-intensive refrigeration systems and the high demand for energy to maintain temperature-controlled environments make these industries significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Look at some interesting facts about food spoilage and its impact on the environment.

  • Refrigerated warehouses consume an average of 24.9 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per square foot each year. By comparison, traditional warehouses use an average of 6.1 kWh of electricity per square foot each year.
  • Cold storage warehouses can consume 60,000 to 100,000 gallons of water per day.
  • Cold storage companies spend more than $30 billion on energy every year.
  • The cold chain accounts for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • Food spoilage accounts for 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions; if food spoilage were a country, it would rank as our third GHG emitter globally, after the US and China
  • It is estimated that each year the United States produces 170 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions because of food loss and waste.
  • According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the food sector produces nearly 30% of global energy consumption and about 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Cold Chain’s Cool Effect on Pharmaceuticals

The cold chain has a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry, as many drugs and vaccines are temperature-sensitive and require specific conditions to maintain their potency and effectiveness. The cold chain ensures that these products are safely transported and stored at controlled temperatures, from the point of manufacture to the end user. Failure to maintain the cold chain can result in the degradation of the product, rendering it ineffective or even harmful to patients. Here’s some incredible facts about the pharmaceutical cold chain.

  • Cold-chain logistics accounted for nearly 18% of all biopharma logistics spending
  • The United States is the world’s main exporter of pharmaceuticals, with around 86,000 metric tons exported by air
  • The United States is the world’s main importer of pharmaceuticals, with around 73,000 metric tons imported by air.
  • According to a study from Zebra, 92% of pharmaceutical leaders are planning to invest more in cold chain technologies that provide supply chain visibility
  • The U.S.’s pharmaceutical market accounted for 40.8% of the global pharmaceutical market as of 2021.
  • The cold chain logistics market for the pharmaceuticals industry is set to grow by over $9 billion from 2020 to 2025
  • One in two medical products ships on the cold chain
  • According to the World Health Organization, heat exposure and freezing in the cold chain results in 50% of vaccines being wasted each year.

Food and Beverage – Grocery Cold Chain Facts               

The cold chain is of major importance to the food and beverage industry, as it ensures that perishable goods such as meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables are transported and stored at specific temperatures to maintain their quality and safety. The cold chain is an essential component of the grocery supply chain, providing a safe and efficient way to transport and store perishable goods, ensuring the availability of fresh products for consumers worldwide. This is especially important in a global market where customers demand a constant supply of fresh and healthy products. Let’s take a look at some facts about the food and beverage industries and the grocery supply cold chain.

  • The Food Marketing Institute predicts that within the next 10 years, 70% of American households will regularly participate in online grocery shopping
  • The International Institute of Refrigeration estimates that 12% of total food production spoils due to cold chain failure.
  • The food and beverage industry makes up 30% of the cold chain market revenue.
  • According to the Rockefeller Foundation solving food spoilage would feed 1 billion more people by 2050.
  • In 2018, the global frozen food market was valued at 260.8 billion U.S. dollars. This is predicted to grow by 40% by 2026, to a forecast value of 366.3 billion dollars
  • The food and beverage cold chain logistics market is expected to grow by over $85 billion during 2022-2027
  • It is predicted that online sales will make up 21.5% of all U.S. grocery sales by 2025 – Experts predict that online grocery sales will be a top driver of demand for cold storage warehouse facilities
  • There was a 27% increase in U.S. imports of meat from 2021 to 2022.
  • In 2021, 1.6 billion pounds of dairy products were stored in cold warehouses in the United States
  • In 2021, around 20.67 million pounds of apples were stored in cold warehouses in the United States.
  • 90% of pallet positions in food storage warehouses involve automation

3PL Cold Storage and Cold Chain Facts

Third-party logistics providers and shippers play a critical role in the cold chain and cold fulfillment warehouses operations.

In this section, we will explore some interesting facts about 3PLs and shippers and their impact on cold chain fulfillment networks. From the rise of e-commerce to the increasing demand for businesses to outsource fulfillment and logistics management, there are many trends shaping the industry and influencing the way these organizations operate. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most fascinating facts and trends related to the cold industries, 3PLs and shippers.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 72% of the refrigerated storage capacity in the U.S. is outsourced to public refrigerated warehouse companies.
  • Third-party logistics (3PL) providers make up over 34% of total cold warehousing operations leasing activity.
  • About 90% of 3PLs report that their company plans to expand their cold chain capabilities and value-added service offerings
  • 38% of 3PLs report that cold chain service capabilities are critically important to their company growth.
  • 56% of 3PLs and shippers with cold chain products reported that packaging was either fully outsourced or partially outsourced.
  • 74% of shippers and 91% of 3PLs are seeing increased competition for cold chain capacity
  • Both shippers (82%) and 3PLs (84%) continue to believe that demand for cold chain capacity will increase over the next three years.
  • 67% of shippers and 72% of 3PLs report they plan to continue to continue to expand their cold chain capabilities and capacity over the next three years


Cold warehousing logistics and supply chain play a critical role in the global supply chain, ensuring the safe and efficient transportation and storage of perishable goods. Many experts consider the implementation of cold transportation one of the key business tools for the food and beverage industry. As a result, the cold chain and cold warehouse logistics include the entire supply chain and fulfillment process.

As the demand for fresh and frozen foods continues to rise, many businesses are challenged with keeping inventory levels optimized as well as getting products to consumers. However, these industries are experiencing significant growth, with technological advancements improving efficiency, sustainability, and safety. Automation and smart warehousing play a key role in how businesses store inventory in cold warehouses, as there are a growing number of fully automated cold warehouse and fulfillment centers. These warehouse facilities help make products are picked, packed, and shipped safely and correctly.

The cold storage warehousing and cold chain industries face unique challenges, including regulatory compliance, logistics, and monitoring, but are constantly evolving to meet these challenges. Due to the increased need for cold delivery, the way the cold chain can move products has led to increased investment into the cold chain. Automated warehouse solutions that improve the functions of warehousing like inventory storage, warehouse safety, and packing and shipping products. Or shipping solutions like custom packaging and temperature monitors to lower shipping costs and make sure products get to customers safely.

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4-bd757 (

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