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REAL ESTATE: Tianjin cold storage market presence
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Tianjin cold storage market presence
By Vivian Zhao, Research Analyst at JLL Tianjin

BT 201808 Real 01在天津,你可以吃到世界各地的美食,每天生鲜市场和各色餐厅中都有大量品种丰富的食材供你选择。虽然我们每天都在吃这些食物,但大多数消费者可能从来都没听说过冷链物流,而无论是冰淇淋、水产品还是新鲜果蔬,都要依靠冷链物流网络从产地运送至各大城市。整个系统包括冷链车、集装箱、冷库,随着消费量的增加,我国生鲜电商市场的商品交易总额(GMV)去年的年增长率达到了59.7%。





Most people have probably never heard of cold chain logistics or thought much about how the meat and seafood on their plate travelled to reach them. But anytime you consume anything, from ice cream to crab to bananas, you are relying on the cold chain logistics network to get the food to you safely all the way from its original source. This network, which involves refrigerated trucks, containers and warehouses, is growing in China in line with increase in consumption and increase in “fresh food e-commerce”. China’s gross merchandise value (GMV) of the fresh food e-commerce market reached RMB 139.1 billion (USD 21.4 billion) with an annual growth rate of 59.7% in 2017. And while the e-commerce boom in China has meant the rapid development of warehousing and delivery networks, the more specialised cold chain version is still very much in its infancy. Since we lack the information to weigh the size of the fresh food e-commerce market in Tianjin, it is still unclear how big an influence it has been on the Tianjin cold storage market.

Real 0801Source: 2018 China’s Fresh Food E-commerce Consumption Report, iResearch

Research done by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing Cold Chain Logistics Committee show that cold chain logistics company revenues in China reached RMB 94.4 billion (USD 14.5 billion) in 2017; cold chain logistics includes food, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing materials. However, only 27.5% of revenues came from companies in the list of the top 100 China cold chain logistics enterprises. This means that the market is fragmented and still dominated by small suppliers. JLL estimates that Tianjin is one of the five primary logistics hubs in China with stock of more than 3.0 million sqm. However, the cold chain market is still in the preliminary stage of development with only a limited number of international standard cold storage projects in Tianjin. Below we have highlighted some projects that are regarded as being high standard cold storage facilities.

Cold Chain Logistics Space Near Tianjin

Real 0802Source: JLL Research

Real 0803Source: JLL Research

Generally, Tianjin cold storage is distributed in two major submarkets – the Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA), especially the Dongjiang Port area and the Central Fishing Port area, and central Tianjin with surrounding suburban areas, such as Wuqing and Beichen districts. Projects near the ports in the TBNA play important roles in customs special supervision, including inspection and quarantine, and imported fresh food distribution. Central Tianjin has many traditional cold storage assets developed in the 1990s, which have not been indicated on the map, close to the local markets serving the high density residential areas, such as the Jinzhong Wholesale Market Cold Warehouse in Hebei District. High quality cold storage warehouses were first developed in Tianjin in 2000 and the spread into the suburban areas, such as Wuqing, Beichen and Dongli districts.

Cold chains in Tianjin are commonly used by catering enterprises and retailers for food processing, storage and transportation. The food and beverage (F&B) sector has been expanding in Tianjin’s retail market in recent years. As of 2Q17, 27.9% of prime retail stock was occupied by F&B restaurants; this figure was 24.3% towards the end of 2015. Because of the growing F&B retail demand, we expect cold chain demand to grow.

Users of cold storage space take one of two major strategies, specifically:

Develop own space:

Some cold chain logistics enterprises usually participate in the full range of services from warehousing development to cold chain delivery. Xianyi Holding, the owner of the Xianyi Cold Chain Logistics Base in Tianjin, and Swire Cold Chain Logistics, the owner of Swire Pacific Cold Storage in Lanfang, are two such examples and their full range of services help them to have strong competence in the market.

Lease space:

Some others either lease cold storage space or standard warehouse space that then needs to be refurbished to meet their need for use. For instance, Zhengming Cold Chain Logistics leased space in Lanxi Cold Chain Logistics in Beichen and standard warehouse space in GLP Park Puling in Xiqing for its bases in Tianjin, providing cold storage and delivery services to its customers as a third party logistics player.

E-commerce firms apply both of the two strategies mentioned above; they self-develop or lease cold storage space nationally to support their business line of “fresh food e-commerce”. Standard warehouse developers also apply the first strategy to develop their cold chain facilities in Tianjin. GLP is such an example, positioning its GLP Park Sicundian in Wuqing as a fresh cold chain comprehensive park, and it will develop three single-storey buildings for food processing and cold storage.


The 2016 Top Markets Report Cold Chain, published by the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, estimates that the cold storage capacity in China was 76 million cubic metres, just 66% of America’s figure and 58% of India’s figure. However, the total population in China is four times larger than the US and 40 million more than India’s, which means China has the lowest cold storage capacity per capita among these three countries. With increasing demand for frozen and fresh food and the ongoing urbanisation process in China, the cold chain market still has tremendous room for growth. This will attract more investment from investors and developers wishing to explore opportunities in the sector.

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