China’s appetite for fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat is expected to increase by 17% between 2015 and 2025. The country’s growing demand for fresh food offers huge opportunities for imports from Europe’s well-reputed food industry. The ‘New Silk Road’ - the Yu’Xin’Ou Railway, connecting Chongqing and Rotterdam by rail, provides an exciting new route to market for European exporters as it reduces transport times by over 30 days compared to shipping.
The ‘New Silk Road’ can be a strong driver of improvements to the cold chain industry, as it brings Chinese cold chain providers in contact with high-standard products. The reduced transportation time has several advantages for exporters with respect to product quality, pricing, and distribution options. Once matured, the ‘New Silk Road’ has the capability to stabilise China’s food system by enhancing international trade and reducing the vulnerability to regional events, such as crop disease and extreme weather. In time, it also has the potential to enhance competition, changing the competitive positions of current trading partners like the US, Brazil and Australia, as well as improving the price stability of the food system.
The demand for fresh safe food, bought through convenient modern channels is driving the country’s investment in cold chain infrastructure. Over the past five years, storage capacity has grown from 12 million cubic meters in 2007 to roughly 100 million cubic meters in 2015. However, China’s cold chain sector is still lagging and needs to improve in terms of both quality and capacity.
Wednesday October 28, 2015/ Rabobank/ The Netherlands.