THE cold chain industry is expected to become a P20 billion industry by 2023, led by its core market of food but with new impetus provided by vaccine distribution, the Board of Investments (BoI) said.

The BoI and industry groups last month launched the Cold Chain Industry Road Map, which includes a blueprint for industry expansion during the public health emergency. The BoI had not responded to requests for comparative revenue data at deadline time.

“Now that several vaccines have been given emergency approvals around the world, we are expecting that these vaccines would be made available in the country at the soonest possible time,” BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in a statement Tuesday.

“As such, we have to prep our industry for the nationwide distribution of the vaccines that require certain temperatures.”

The government is in talks with several vaccine manufacturers for 148 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate 50-70 million Filipinos this year.

Anthony Dizon, Cold Chain Association of the Philippines, Inc. president, said the industry plans to use a hub-and-spoke method to distribute vaccines, but is still waiting for information from the government on vaccine procurement.

“There needs to be an extensive study to make sure that the supply chain facilities are available to complete the vaccine distribution cycle,” he said.

The growth of the industry, Mr. Dizon added, will largely depend on the development of food production.

Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin L. Ampatuan said that the road map currently details the cold chain and logistics requirements of the agri-fisheries sector.

Real estate services firm JLL Philippines said that demand for logistics space is expected to grow 160,000 square meters per year over the next decade due to a spike in e-commerce demand. Dry storage accounts for two-thirds of the current supply, while cold storage accounts for 21%. — Jenina P. Ibañez