Op­por­tu­ni­ties non per­ish­able for per­ish­ables

The cold chain in­dus­try has been grow­ing sig­nif­i­cantly ow­ing to the in­creas­ing gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives, ris­ing need for the cold chain fa­cil­i­ties, in­creas­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ments of both do­mes­tic and for­eign play­ers. CARGOTALK ex­plores this in­dus­try

Cargo Talk - - Front Page - KAL­PANA LOHUMI

With the shift in fo­cus from in­creas­ing the pro­duc­tion to bet­ter stor­age and trans­porta­tion fa­cil­ity of the pro­duce, cold chain in­dus­try is de­vel­op­ing at a faster pace in In­dia. The cold stor­age in­fra­struc­ture has the abil­ity to main­tain the shelf life of per­ish­able goods by main­tain­ing proper tem­per­a­ture of the prod­ucts from the farm gate to the end-con­sumer. As per the re­port, ‘In­dian Cold Chain In­dus­try Out­look 2022’, ow­ing to the ris­ing need of the in­fra­struc­ture to re­duce wastage, the cold chain in­dus­try in In­dia is fore­casted to grow at a CAGR of 19 per cent dur­ing the pe­riod of 2017-2022. CARGOTALK ex­plores the po­ten­tial of the mar­ket, chal­lenges with the reefer trans­porta­tion, im­pact of GST, tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions, and what is needed to be done to re­duce the op­er­a­tion cost.

Fo­cus­ing on the minu­tiae of the sec­tor, Ramesh Mami­dala, In­dia Cargo Awards win­ner 2016 and CEO, Celebi Delhi Cargo Ter­mi­nal Man­age­ment In­dia, says, “Cold chain sec­tor in In­dia by far has been ne­glected, thus lead­ing to around 40 per cent of agrar­ian prod­uct waste due to the lack of cold chain in­fra­struc­ture. While the pro­duc­tion of high nu­tri­tion prod­ucts like fruits, veg­eta­bles, meat and oth­ers have gone up con­sid­er­ably over the years; what is lack­ing are the means to safely han­dle and move these per­ish­ables to the mar­ket. The present gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to re­duce agrar­ian wastage and bring down the posthar­vest losses; this leads to more in­vest­ment in cold chain sec­tors. We are in­vest­ing heav­ily to bring in new tech­nol­ogy in our cold chain fa­cil­ity and hence pro­vid­ing an ideal stor­age con­di­tion for all per­ish­ables, from ac­cep­tance stage to the re­lease of this sen­si­tive cargo from our ware­house.” Su­nil Kohli, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Ra­hat Cargo, “The gov­ern­ment has an­nounced num­ber of in­cen­tives to pro­mote the cold chain sec­tors which may pro­vide a ma­jor boost to this sec­tor ren­der­ing a huge op­por­tu­nity of in­vest­ments. Un­der the scheme of 135 in­te­grated cold chain projects with the cold chain ca­pac­ity of 475,000 MT of cold stor­age / con­trolled at­mos­phere / mod­i­fied at­mos­phere stor­age, deep freezer,114.75 MT / hour of In­di­vid­ual Quick Freezer(IQF), 12,005,000 litres per day of milk stor­age / pro­cess­ing and 787 num­ber of reefer ve­hi­cles be­sides ad­di­tional tax ex­emp­tion fa­cil­i­ties have also been sanc­tioned.

Shar­ing the po­ten­tial of the mar­ket, Ram Ti­wari, Di­rec­tor-Mar­ket­ing, Shine Lo­gis­tics, says, “De­spite huge po­ten­tial in cold chain lo­gis­tics sec­tor in In­dia, we are still much be­hind as com­pared to other de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in the world. As lo­gis­tics trade is yet to get recog­nised with the in­dus­trial sta­tus, gov­ern­ment has never ex­tended any fa­cil­i­ties in terms of fi­nan­cial sup­port, lo­gis­tics parks, or any com­mer­cial ben­e­fits. There­fore, peo­ple have not in­vested money to the de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture which led to big eco­nom­i­cal lose to the coun­try. In­dia is an agrar­ian econ­omy but due to lack of cold chain lo­gis­tics sup­port, mostly in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture for veg­eta­bles, fruits, milk prod­ucts, medicine and other eat­able items are get­ting wasted.”

Bar­ri­ers to the growth

Shar­ing how lack of lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port acts as one of the key chal­lenges for reefer trans­porta­tion, Mami­dala tells, “It is im­per­a­tive to have a seam­less, undis­rupted and smooth func­tion­ing sup­ply chain for ef­fec­tive lo­gis­ti­cal op­er­a­tions and cold chain is no ex­cep­tion.” Adding to the chal­lenges for reefer trans­porta­tion, he says, “Lack of mul­ti­ple farm gate col­lec­tion cen­tres in In­dia re­sults to cus­tomer pay­ing more for a reefer trans­porta­tion and due cost op­ti­mi­sa­tion to run a full truck is in­ad­e­quate. To add to this, stan­dard re­frig­er­ated sys­tems are in­ef­fi­cient and poorly de­signed. Also, not many reefer trucks are avail­able due to the lack of volumes in the mar­ket. Es­tab­lish­ment of new and mod­ern cold chain fa­cil­ity will nec­es­sar­ily push up de­mands for reefer trucks trans­porta­tion.”

“All the stake­hold­ers must col­lab­o­rate to find so­lu­tion to lack of the ad­e­quate lo­gis­tics sup­port for reefer trans­porta­tion. Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives and a fil­lip must be given to es­tab­lish­ment of cold chain projects in In­dia; sub­si­dies should be given to en­cour­age re­frig­er­ated trans­port sys­tems. Fur­ther, es­tab­lish­ment of new and mod­ern cold stor­age fa­cil­ity will nec­es­sar­ily push up de­mand for re­frig­er­ated ve­hi­cles,” opines Kohli.

“There is good de­mand in In­dia but we are not able to pro­vide the so­lu­tions be­cause we do not have in­fra­struc­ture and sup­port in place, we are lack­ing with re­quired so­lu­tions. We may need some more time to come-up with re­quired fa­cil­i­ties and so­lu­tions and Shine is work­ing on the so­lu­tions along with our over­seas part­ners to set-up cold chain sup­ply chain by ap­ply­ing tech­nol­ogy and pack­ing so­lu­tions,” in­forms Ti­wari.

“An­other chal­lenge is re­duc­ing the op­er­a­tion cost in cold chain lo­gis­tics or in gen­eral lo­gis­tics busi­ness. And, sev­eral ideas are un­der ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, such as, right pack­ing so­lu­tion which can hold con­stant tem­per­a­ture for long time with­out hav­ing any outer en­ergy sup­port, and us­ing ve­hi­cle hav­ing bat­tery op­er­a­tions, to name a few,” he adds.

Smart re­frig­er­a­tion sys­tems pow­ered by In­ter­net of Things, big data an­a­lyt­ics & cloud so­lu­tions are the fu­ture re­quire­ments

GST may help to im­prove the cold chain lo­gis­tics in In­dia in near fu­ture be­cause it will re­move many lo­cal taxes

All the stake­hold­ers must col­lab­o­rate to find so­lu­tion to lack of the ad­e­quate lo­gis­tics sup­port for reefer trans­porta­tion

Echo­ing sim­i­lar views Mami­dala says, “Cost was one of the main rea­son for switch­ing from fos­sil based en­ergy sources to re­new­able en­ergy sources like so­lar and wind be­sides oth­ers. To­day, re­duced costs for re­new­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies are mak­ing ev­ery tran­si­tion not only pos­si­ble but ac­tu­ally less ex­pen­sive than the al­ter­na­tive. Even our

Ramesh Mami­dala In­dia Cargo Awards Win­ner 2016 & CEO Celebi Delhi Cargo Ter­mi­nal Man­age­ment

Ram Ti­wari Di­rec­tor-Mar­ket­ing Shine Lo­gis­tics

Su­nil Kohli Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Ra­hat Cargo

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