Summary of our market study

The global cold storage market has grown significantly in recent years, and is expected to continue expanding at an annual rate of 11.6%. The frozen food segment dominates, not least due to the increase in frozen food consumption in emerging markets such as India and China. In Europe, the main cold store suppliers are measured by their temperature-controlled capacity, with companies such as Kloosterboer, NewCold Advanced Cold Logistics, and Nichirei Logistics Group leading the way.

In France, the cold storage sector experienced accelerated growth before 2020, but faced a slowdown during the pandemic, with sales estimated at around €1.44 billion in 2021. The French market was influenced by a variety of factors, including the rise of e-commerce, which reached 129.1 billion euros in 2021, and a significant shift in consumer behavior towards online food purchasing during the health crisis.

The Covid-19 pandemic particularly benefited the frozen food market, with companies like Picard gaining over 500,000 new customers in 2020. However, the sector faces challenges such as the difficulty of finding labor, strict regulations and managing rising energy costs, which have risen sharply in recent years.nergy costs, which have risen dramatically, with the electricity cost index for cold stores more than doubling from 199.71 in July 2020 to 406.99 in July 2022.

Despite these challenges, the sector continues to evolve, with automation and innovative storage solutions increasingly adopted to optimize efficiency.

Trends in demand for cold storage solutions in the French market

The French market for cold storage solutions is facing a dynamic but challenging environment. With demand for perishable goods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, fruit, vegetables and pharmaceuticals on the rise, cold storage facilities have become an essential component in maintaining the integrity of these products. Two main forms of cold storage are used: positive cold storage, with temperatures between 0°C and 15°C, and negative cold storage, with temperatures below 0°C. Some facilities offer multi-temperature capacities to accommodate a wide variety of goods.

The market is experiencing strong growth, with large, sophisticated warehouses in demand to meet the growing needs of e-commerce. This expansion is supported in particular by the growing popularity of online food retailing. However, the trend towards fresh and local produce poses a challenge to the cold storage market, underlining a preference for shorter distribution channels, albeit a marginal segment. Employment in the cold storage sector is considerable, with the number of people employed rising from 15-20 million to 20-25 million by 2021, representing growth of over 20%. Companies range from general freight forwarders to cold logistics operators and players specializing in cold storage. Big names like XPO Logistics and Nagel Group, with revenues in the billions, demonstrate a substantial market presence.

Cost dynamics in this market are largely influenced by the high energy consumption typical of cold-storage operations, which puts strong cost pressure on operators, not least due to rising electricity prices. For example, the electricity cost index for cold stores has more than doubled in the space of two years, indicating a sharp increase in an essential operating expense.

The sector is also faced with stringent regulatory frameworks governing health and food safety, adding further complexity to operations. Automation is rapidly emerging as a transformative force in cold storage, improving efficiency through digitization and mechanized processes. Innovations such as mobile racking, automated operations that eliminate the need for forklifts, and anthropomorphic robots for palletizing are reshaping traditional warehouse models.

E-commerce remains one of the main drivers of demand, with sales rising sharply, translating into a multi-billion euro market. Food sales are set to follow this trajectory, with a large proportion of the population opting for online shopping, further accentuating the need for reliable and efficient cold storage solutions.

In conclusion, the French cold storage market is developing against a backdrop of growing environmental awareness, regulatory frameworks and technological advances.

Main competitors in the cold storage arena

In the competitive landscape of the cold storage market, several players are emerging as figureheads, each with distinct roles and specializations in their segment. These key entities have carved out a place for themselves by drawing on their expertise, extensive networks and comprehensive logistics solutions to meet a wide range of needs in the cold storage and refrigerated transport sectors. Let's discover the remarkable profiles of these market leaders in the context of cold logistics.

Freight forwarders and general logistics operators

  • XPO Logistics is a global provider of cutting-edge supply chain solutions for the most successful companies in a variety of sectors. Its significant presence in the logistics market demonstrates its ability to meet all freight transport demands, including cold chain requirements.
  • Rhenus Logistics is a multi-faceted logistics service provider, offering a wide range of solutions from global freight logistics to innovative value-added services. Its tailor-made logistics strategies meet the individual requirements of temperature-sensitive product shipments.
  • ID Logistics is another major logistics specialist offering global solutions, but with particular expertise in contract logistics. With a focus on innovation and social responsibility, it manages complex supply chains and ensures impeccable temperature management for perishables and pharmaceuticals.
  • Sofrilog stands out for its focus and expertise in the cold logistics sector, providing robust solutions for the storage, handling and transportation of frozen and refrigerated products.

Specialized transporters and cold logistics operators

  • The Nagel Group specializes in food logistics throughout Europe. It has created a vast network dedicated to the optimal transport and storage of food products, promising the best possible conditions for temperature-sensitive goods.
  • Olano is a name synonymous with refrigerated transport and logistics services. It provides complete cold chain logistics solutions, combining temperature-controlled transport and warehousing capabilities to meet the specific needs of its customers.
  • Delanchy offers a combination of transport logistics and cold storage expertise, and stands out in the niche market of fresh and frozen goods logistics.

Cold storage specialists

  • STEF is an emblem of expertise in cold storage logistics. As a specialist, it goes beyond simple storage solutions, integrating a range of services tailored to the complex requirements of the temperature-sensitive products industry.
  • Iris Logistique and Logistisud are key players in the cold storage sector. These companies emphasize their ability to offer scalable storage facilities capable of meeting the dynamic requirements of a variety of perishable products.
  • Newcold and Somat are also active players in the market.
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  • Last update : 24/08/2022
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Like refrigerated transport, cold storage is part of the cold logistics sector. It is the intermediate storage stage between the goods leaving the factory and the logistics platform to avoid breaking the cold chain.

A cold store is a building that stores perishable goods at low temperatures. The products concerned fall into two categories:

  • Food products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, fruit, and vegetables);
  • Pharmaceutical products.

Cold storage can be

  • Positive cold (between 0°C and 15°C);
  • Negative cold (below 0°C);
  • Multi-temperature (positive or negative cold and storage of dry products).

The French warehousing and storage market is growing. Vast warehouses are increasingly sought-after and preferred to meet the ever-growing demand from e-commerce. But while the cold-storage market can rely on the boom in online food retailing, which is growing fast, cold-storage players have to contend with several obstacles to expansion, such as the growing appeal of fresh and local produce.

This segment is marginal, but short distribution channels are becoming increasingly popular. Another challenge facing the energy-intensive cold storage business is managing its energy costs.

1.2 A fast-growing global market

The global market

The cold storage market has grown significantly in recent years, particularly from strict regulations governing the production and supply of temperature-sensitive products. Analysts forecast annual growth of **.*% over the coming years.

trend in sales of cold storage services World, **** - ****, US$ billion Source: ****

Based on temperature type, the ...

1.3 French market growth slowed by health crisis

Estimating the sales generated by the cold storage and warehousing sector at around *.** billion euros excluding VAT in **** is possible. The sector's growth accelerated sharply from **** onwards, before slowing down in ****, as shown in the graph below.

refrigerated warehousing sales trend France, **** - ****, € million excl CAGR: + *.*% Source: ****

Logistics real estate in ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Overview of customers in the sector

The customers of cold storage operators can be segmented as follows:

Producers and importers of agri-food raw materials Manufacturers of fresh and frozen food products; The foodservice sector; Distributors; Pharmaceutical and medical industry players.

The development of the cold storage market is closely linked to the demand for perishable goods that ...

2.2 The development of e-commerce is having a major impact on the cold storage market

E-commerce sales France, ****-****, Billions of euros Source: ****

E-commerce in France has grown by leaps and bounds, reaching ***.* billion euros in ****. Although business growth rates have slowed since ****, they still record double-digit growth.

Spending on food should follow the same trend

The top ** e-commerce sites by number of customers in the ...

2.3 Dynamics and functioning of the frozen food sector

As the main customers of companies specializing in cold storage, the relative weight of the different channels and players enables us to estimate their importance for the companies present in this market.

B-to-B distribution of frozen foods

Business-to-business distribution can occur between a frozen food manufacturer (***).

Wholesalers (***) offer a wide range ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Geographical distribution of production and number of players

To determine the number of companies and employees in the area, we used NAF code **.**A, which stands for cold storage and warehousing. The NAF code is a code assigned by INSEE to any company listed in the SIRENE catalog. With the help of the Urssaf website and this NAF code, ...

3.2 Sector companies and new disruptive players

The following companies make up the cold storage sector in France.

These companies include the leading "pure players " in cold logistics: STEF, Olano, Sofrilog... and generalists such as XPO, who have integrated the cold storage business.

Disruptive new players

From housing to urban transport, from Airbnb to Blablacar, the collaborative economy ...

3.3 Cold store activity

The purpose of a cold store is to receive goods requiring this type of storage and hold them for a specific period of time. Activities in these warehouses are essentially concerned with handling operations. There are two main activities in these warehouses:

Forklift operators Order pickers

Forklift operators

These are the ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Cold storage services

There are three types of cold stores, depending on the desired temperature:

Positive-cold warehouses, with temperatures between * and **°C, for storing different types of products with a short use-by date (***). Negative-cold warehouses, with temperatures below *°C, generally between -**°C and -**°C, and down to -**°C. In logistical terms, ...

4.2 Awards: From purchasing mobile cold rooms to building refrigerated warehouses

The selling price of mobile cold rooms is mainly linked to * factors:

Volume Number of pallets Temperature range

Source: ****

Finally, according to STEF and Cryologistic, the investment cost of a new warehouse is around *** euros per cubic meter, with amortization over a period of ** to ** years. [***]

The evolution of cold storage ...

4.3 Automation could shake up the sector

Racking optimization to boost cold storage efficiency

Traditional static and dynamic racking systems must contend with the growing importance of warehouse automation. Warehouses are increasingly turning to digitalization to optimize employee movements, for example. Mecalux explains that there are three levels of automation within a warehouse.

Source: ****

The low level of ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Difficulties in finding manpower and controlling costs within a strict regulatory framework

The refrigerated warehousing industry struggles to attract workers due to the difficult working conditions imposed on its employees. [***]

Cold storage logistics represent a health and food safety issue and are therefore governed by French and European regulations. For example, the European regulation **/**** requires cold chain operators to use temperature recorders at ...

5.2 Regulated production

The use of HFCs (***) to maintain products at below-ambient temperatures is already regulated.

At the European level, Regulation ***/****, known as "F-Gas II", in force since January *, ****, "significantly reduces and will reduce by **** the quantities of HFCs placed on the market". [***]

However, the French government has announced that taxation on this type ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • XPO Logistics
  • Rhenus logistics
  • Sofrilog
  • Olano
  • Delanchy
  • Nagel Group
  • Somatref
  • Iris Logistique
  • Newcold
  • Logistisud
  • Stockbooking
  • ID Logistics
  • Tesson Groupe - Dartess
  • Stef

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Leading cold storage suppliers
  • Sales trends in cold storage services
  • Trends in cold storage sales
  • Pharmaceutical logistics expenditure, by type
  • Pharmaceutical sales by type of transport
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Latest news

Logistics: STEF strengthens its position in Northern Europe - 09/01/2024

STEF, the transport and logistics group specializing in food products, has recently made two acquisitions to strengthen its presence in Benelux. The company acquired Bakker Logistiek, the leading local player in temperature-controlled transport. Bakker Logistiek has 6 sites in the Netherlands, 1,400 employees and a fleet of 325 vehicles, with sales of 150 million euros. STEF has acquired TransWest, a Belgian company specializing in the transport and logistics of frozen products. TransWest has 500 employees and 150 trucks. By 2024, the Dutch, Belgian and British markets should generate sales of nearly 600 million euros for STEF. France is expected to generate around 58% of STEF's sales in 2024, with the remainder coming from neighboring countries. STEF's sales target for 2022 is 4.26 billion euros, with 22,000 employees and 273 platforms or warehouses.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

XPO Logistics
Rhenus logistics
Nagel Group
Iris Logistique
ID Logistics

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