Global cold chain data shows labour the highest cost

Arlington, Virginia, USA: Labour is the largest cost followed by property rent or lease expenses for coldstore operators, according to data from the Global Cold Chain Alliance.

In order to improve the economic information available to industry participants, the Global Cold Chain Alliance has commissioned a Cold Chain Index reported since the end of 2018. The CCI tracks the growth rates of costs using predominantly official sources of economic data.

The CCI can be customised to the region and state where a warehouse facility operates.

The index includes five classes of expenses: labor, electric power, rent, supplies, and repairs; the cost shares typical of a North American refrigerated warehouse are shown below.

Cost share of North American refrigerated warehouses

Labour was the largest share of expenses, at 46% of the total. Property rent or lease expenses represented nearly 35% of total expenses. Electric power accounted for 10% of total expenses.

The “other” category included the leases on material handling equipment, expenses on utilities other than electric power, and un-specified other expenses. Note that the cost shares have been updated since the Q4 2019 release for all 2020 releases based on the FY2018 IARW Productivity and Benchmarking Survey results.

“GCCA’s Cold Chain Index is a valuable tool for third-party warehouses – and their customers, such as food retailers and wholesalers – in contract negotiations that reflect actual costs of the major inputs for producing the 3PL services – labor, electric power, rent, supplies, and repairs,” says Jason Troendle, Director of Market Intelligence & Research.

Today’s 3PL services are not commodities; they are tailored in many cases to specific customers, and many 3PLs are offering value-added services such as case picking, blast freezing, GDP Audit Certification, SQF Certification, and much more. The CCI helps purchasers of 3PL services understand the basic costs and it’s up to the 3PL to discuss the ROI of the value-added services.”


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