It’s all in the numbers

…when it comes to Freezer Storage and Mobile Racking

Have you ever wondered why 80% of freezer stores around the world have Mobile Racking as opposed to any other Racking System??

For more than 40 years Mobile racking has been the racking system of choice for 4 out of every 5 cold stores in most markets and these numbers are unlikely to change.

It’s all in the numbers

Financial managers or directors make the final decisions on where to invest limited financial and capital resources.

After in depth investigations of various racking design solutions and capital costs of the cold store, mobile racking normally emerges as a cost effective solution.

So what would be the number to focus on when deciding which type of racking system to go for in your cold or chill room?


  1. The total cost of 1 racking system vs another?

  2. The total amount of pallet positions each racking system can offer?

  3. The cost per pallet position of each different type of racking system?


In fact none of the above will help you to make the right decision for your business over the medium to long term.

The number to focus on is:

The total investment cost for the cold store per useful pallet position created.

Here you are looking at the lowest cost per pallet position and this is where Mobile racking wins in at least 80% of cases.

You might ask yourself can mobile racking be 2.5 to 3 times the price of conventional static racking.

Mobile racking vs Conventional Static Racking

This is a good comparison to make as both racking systems offer 100% accessibility to every pallet position, offering flexibility to changing and evolving product ranges. High density storage systems like drive in, pallet live storage (Gravity Rollers Systems) or even shuttle systems are different and you don’t have nearly the same levels of pallet access.

Let’s look at this number / ratio in more detail

For the sake of this exercise consider a 1250 square metre Cold Store 12m high as drawn below.

Pallet dimensions = 1.8m high, 1m wide and 1.2m deep. A standard size pallet in our industry. The roof height allows for 5 levels.

drawing 1

drawing 2


Quantity of pallets on conventional (static racking) – 1510 pallet positions. See layout below.

Quantity of pallets on a mobile racking system. – 2814 pallet positions.

The mobile racking system offers 86.3% more pallet positions on the same foot print.

TOTAL Cost of static racking system – R 1 132 500 (R750 per pallet position).

TOTAL Cost of Mobile racking System – R 5 600 000 (R2 000 per pallet position).




Prices were taken roughly from a 2018 project in the North of Pretoria provided by Lutz Refrigeration’s Kevin Walter.

Lutz highly recommends the use of mobile racking to make the most of your freezer / cold-room capital investment as well as to reduce your footprint on the planet for generations to come.

Future proofing your freezer store.

Another aspect to consider is putting rails in the floor so you can bring mobiles in at a later stage, should you go with conventional static racking initially. Your storage requirement when building the store is 1500 pallet positions. Mobiles would give you another 1304. This will increase its capacity by 86%. That is why many of our clients who might not have the capital to put mobiles in all their chambers (rooms), as a minimum make the relatively small investment cost in rails to cater for future expansion. The racking is designed to go on mobile bases and the installation can be done at operative temperatures.

Monthly Power Cost per pallet position

Another important number to consider would be your monthly electrical bill to maintain your cold store at Minus 25 degrees and keep your pallets frozen. If you bring this down to power cost per pallet position, mobile racking is significantly lower.

We chose Mobile Racking for our New Cold Store facility in Wadeville as it was a ‘no brainer’.

Mobile racking gave us a storage capacity of 3500 pallet positions compared to only 2000 on static racking. Increasing our capacity by 75% within a similar Fixed Cost structure when taking the total fixed costs to build the Cold Store Facility into account.

The 3500 mobile racking pallet positions gave us the lowest investment cost per pallet position which increased our competitiveness in the market place.

If you can afford the capital it makes financial sense”.

 – Uwe Schmidthaus, Owner of Southerns Cold Storage


At the end of the day mobile racking turns wasted and costly aisle space in static racking systems into income generating storage space in mobile racking systems.


All 3




Contact us for more information on mobile racking when planning your new freezer or chilled store.

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