Refrigerated storage is more in demand than ever, which is fueling a surge in construction of refrigerated warehouses with automation and other features designed for flexibility.
The Wall Street Journal reports that leading cold-storage companies Americold and Lineage Logistics are preparing to break ground on millions of square feet of new refrigerated storage space, funded by billions of dollars in investments, much of it from venture capital firms. The market for cold storage construction is expected to reach $18.6 billion by 2027, compared with $7 billion today.
The big driver is the expansion of online grocery shopping, which doubled its share during the pandemic. Many of the new warehouses will be built with robotics and other aspects that will help shift among channels for both receiving and shipping, enabling them to better handle changes in demand between retail and foodservice.
The situation is attracting attention of big investors. Cerberus Capital Management is backing a multibillion-dollar plan by Provender Partners to build cold storage facilities, and Lineage received a $1.9 billion funding round this month.