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Quality cold chain logistics top priority

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-14 09:14
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An employee checks imported foodstuffs at a cold storage facility in Haikou, Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is looking to foster green, smart and high-quality development of its cold chain logistics sector, which will serve as a key driver of industrial upgrading and the expansion of domestic demand, officials said on Monday.

Their remarks came after the General Office of the State Council on Sunday issued a development plan for cold chain logistics during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25).

The new plan requires establishing a cold chain logistics network that connects production and sales regions, covers urban and rural areas and links domestic and international markets by 2025.

To implement the tasks mapped out by the new plan, China is drafting a guideline to promote the high-quality development of its cold chain logistics sector, according to the country's top economic regulator.

Zhang Jiangbo, deputy director-general of the economic and trade department at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the guideline will focus on strengthening weak links in cold chain logistics, including facilitating infrastructure construction, improving regulatory standards, boosting technological innovation and cultivating more talent.

Zhang said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing that the guideline will be released soon and the NDRC will work with the parties concerned to better implement the new plan.

China's cold chain logistics sector is set to see huge growth potential thanks to the increasing need for commodities such as fresh produce.

Citing official data, Zhang said China's cold chain logistics market reached over 380 billion yuan ($60 billion) and its cold warehouse capacity reached around 180 million cubic meters last year, 2.4 times and 2 times higher than the figure at the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15), respectively. And China had over 280,000 refrigerated vehicles in 2020, 2.6 times higher than the figure in 2015.

The NDRC's Zhang said the implementation of the new plan will help create a better environment, facilitate the high-quality development of cold chain logistics, satisfy people's increasing need for better lives and provide strong support for economic development following the dual-circulation model that takes the domestic market as the mainstay with domestic and foreign markets complementing each other.

To better implement the new plan, the Ministry of Transport will make a big push to improve the cold chain logistics infrastructure network, promote the upgrading of cold chain transport technology and equipment, innovate transport service models and improve relevant policies and standards, said Zhang Dawei, deputy director of the comprehensive planning department, the Ministry of Transport.

When it comes to the construction of cold chain infrastructure, Li Gang, deputy director of the department of circulation development, the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry will make efforts to build distribution centers near production areas, construct cold chain logistics for large agricultural product logistics parks and wholesale markets, and also support the upgrading of retail outlets such as the farmers' markets.

Looking ahead, Song Danyang, deputy director of the department of market and information technology at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the ministry will work with the parties concerned to strengthen weak links in cold chain logistics.

More efforts will be made to establish the cold chain logistics service system in terms of production, develop new forms of business such as low-temperature processing and accelerate the push for setting standards.

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