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Cold chain facilities ensuring food security



Food sufficiency in an archipelago like the Philippines has always been determined by both the productivity of producers and the efficiency of logistics. However, the ongoing pandemic has caused disruptions in mobility that have adversely affected the link between food supply and demand. This is also the case for vital vaccines and medicines.

Pharmaceuticals have always been big users of temperature-controlled supply chains. But because of the pandemic, the demand for vaccines has skyrocketed, with the government expecting to vaccinate 58 million people by the end of the year.

More than ever, there is a need for available facilities and specialists for these requirements. According to Anthony Dizon, president of Cold Chain Association of the Philippines, “The cold chain industry will continue to grow nationwide at a rate of 8% to 10% annually over the next five years, largely driven by population growth, shifting consumer preferences for frozen products, and access to regional export markets with the opening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community.”

Amid the higher demand for specialized logistics facilities and services, the country’s leading group in the end-to-end supply chain is expanding its presence in cold chain solutions with the launch of Fresh by FAST–a new generation of temperature-controlled logistics solutions built on FAST’s track record of

managing the country’s largest warehouse footprint and largest modern transport fleet. The launch of Fresh by FAST also coincides with the opening of two cold chain hubs—in Cavite and North Cebu.

“Our new-generation cold chain solutions are integrated, intelligent, and flexible, specifically designed to better help companies navigate the evolving supply and demand logistical challenges in the new normal and beyond,” said William B. Chiongbian II, Group President & CEO of FAST Logistics Group.

Within the Fresh by FAST brand, the logistics company offers integration of refrigerated transport, cold storage for frozen and chilled temperatures, value-added services such as blast freezing, meat processing, packaging, and even dry warehousing for related items that do not require refrigeration.

FAST’s North Cebu hub is the Philippines’ first intelligent cold storage facility. It makes use of sensors and new technologies that are also being used in intelligent buildings. The cold storage facility is equipped with temperature and humidity sensors that are capable of mobile- and web-based monitoring, offering real-time visibility 24/7 to customers from the comfort of their own homes or offices. The operations in the Cebu hub run on the same warehouse management systems as Asia’s largest warehouses.

The robust systems also allow the hubs to be flexible to customers’ needs, as it can charge per pallet per day, making it ideal for business requirements of all sizes. It has packaged cold chain solutions into sachets, allowing FAST to serve SMEs.

With the two new hubs open, FAST’s footprint in the cold chain is now at 30,000 pallets. The company is currently studying other cities and locations for other cold chain hubs.