Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2011.
The growing efficiency and reliability of cold chain logistics has enabled major grocery store chains to establish large cold storage distribution facilities servicing large market areas. This strategy confers economies of scale (lower operating costs) as well as the ability to supply a wider variety of cold chain retail goods. The above photo depicts a cold storage facility of Loblaw Companies, the largest food retailer in Canada, located at the Global Transportation Hub inland port in the vicinity of Regina, Saskatchewan (5 km from the city). It services most of the chain’s grocery stores in Western Canada. The facility was built on the cross-docking model, implying that inbound cargo (from suppliers) is received on one side, grocery products are stored in the middle and outbound cargo to grocery stores are on the opposite side. On the above photo, an array of domestic 53 foot reefer containers are being loaded with the orders of specific stores (“no name” refers to the generic store brand). Like reefers, most cold storage facilities are painted white to confer a high albedo (light reflection factor).