THE cold storage industry may not have enough capacity and manpower to adjust to the “new normal” in the coming months, as cold storage construction projects in progress will not yet be available for some time, according to the president of the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP).
“Cold storage warehouses may not have capacities to hold additional volumes from local production and imports,” said Anthony Dizon, CCAP president, speaking at a webinar on the food supply chain industry organized on May 21, 2020, by the Procurement and Supply Institute of Asia.
Dizon said cold chain warehouses are currently at about 97 to 98 percent occupancy level with 500 containers still waiting in line to be accommodated for storage.
Moreover, “production capacities may not revert to normal in the near future due to lingering coronavirus concerns,” as “manpower reporting continues to be below normal because of personal fears related to the coronavirus issue.”
He added that while there is incoming holding capacity as construction of cold storage facilities continues, it won’t be available immediately.
“There are cold storage construction projects in progress that are expected to be operational before the end of the year, which should contribute approximately 10 percent increase to total industry capacity,” said Dizon. “In rough figures that would translate to a holding capacity of about 40,000 metric tons of food.”
But these capacities “will not be available immediately but we are understandably rushing completion of these projects to be able to put them on stream at the earliest possible time,” said the executive.
Food industry outlook
At the same time, Dizon gave his outlook on emerging food industry scenarios as the Philippines transitions to a more relaxed quarantine setting.
The retail distribution sector will rebound to normal, mainly through a combination of physical shopping and online/delivery ordering.
The hotel, restaurant and café sector will “pursue a slower recovery path due to restrictions on dine in,” said Dizon, adding this is a phenomenon expected to last for at least another three to six months.
The domestic travel and tourism sectors will possibly contribute minimally to food demand for the rest of the year due to travel restrictions and climatic effects such as the approaching rainy season. (PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES)