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Warehouse operators expand in China
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Retail warehouse and logistics properties are attracting new interest from overseas companies despite slower demand for other industrial space in this financial downturn.

US-based Preferred Freezer Services in late July held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 26,013 sq m refrigerated warehouse.

Preferred Freezer Services (PFS) is the first US-based company to build and operate its own cold storage facilities in China.

The company will construct its facility at Lingang Logistics Park in Shanghai.

According to Shanghai Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, the facility will be the largest and most advanced single-story cold storage facility in China.

"Once completed, the facility will be the largest in PFS's global network," PFS CEO John Galiher said.

"This project will be the first of many leading-edge facilities that we have planned for China. Our expertise in cold storage warehouse operations will provide an improved option for local and multinational food companies in the country," the chief executive officer said.

PFS plans to begin operations at the warehouse in August 2010.

"Shanghai is the epicenter of China. It's one of the major trade centers and a key financial market, as well," said Tim McLellan, PFS managing director of international business development.

John Carver, executive vice-president of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a commercial real estate services firm, said the facility is strategically located near the East Sea Bridge connecting the Lingang New Area in Shanghai to the recently opened Yangshan Deep Water Port.

"This represents one of the largest build-to-suit transactions in the Shanghai region and marks a notable trading partnership between the US and China," Carver said.

China has the world's fastest-growing consumer market for perishable foods and pharmaceutical products, but its per capita refrigerated warehouse space is less than one-tenth of most developed countries, statistics show.

McLellan of PFS said demand for cold chain facilities is enormous in China, and added that the rapid growth of foreign capital in recent years will present investors with plenty of opportunities.

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