FAST Logistics Group announced on Wednesday its entry into the cold chain sector, with the opening of its cold chain hubs in Cebu and Cavite.

The group launched the “Fresh by FAST” brand with the goal of offering an integration of refrigerated transport, cold storage for frozen and chilled temperatures, value-added services such as blast freezing, meat processing, packaging, and dry warehousing for related items that do not require refrigeration.

“When it came to the choice of where to put our first major investment in the cold chain, it is no accident that we chose Cebu. The Group considers Cebu our home, where our businesses in shipping and logistics took root many decades past,” FAST Logistics Group President and Chief Executive Officer William B. Chiongbian II said at a virtual press conference.

“So, I’m also announcing today the inauguration of the FAST Coldchain Hub in North Cebu, an integrated facility with more than 10,000 pallet positions,” he added.

The facility will serve fresh meat processors, importers, local producers, fruits and vegetable retailers, quick service restaurants, and pharmaceuticals, among others.

In July, the group opened its cold chain hub in Cavite to serve businesses in Luzon.

“These two hubs, plus the ones we manage for our principals, will bring our cold chain footprint to at least 30,000 pallet positions,” Mr. Chiongbian said.

“This is an expansion to our warehouse management footprint of more than 1.2 million square meters for dry storage,” he added.

The group is also looking at other locations to realize its vision of “a leading presence in cold chain nationwide,” on which it plans to spend P2 billion over the next two years.

Anthony S. Dizon, president of the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines, said: “We hail the entry of the FAST group into the cold chain as a timely, appropriate and well positioned move to expand into integrated logistics.”

“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,” he also noted. — Arjay L. Balinbin