AISATS Cool­port: 62% growth in a year

AISATS Cool­port has suc­cess­fully com­pleted one year of its op­er­a­tions. Mike Chew, CEO, AISATS, shares the key high­lights and achieve­ments dur­ing the year in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with CARGOTALK.

Cargo Talk - - Interview - CT BUREAU

What are the core USPs of the AISATS Cool­port?

The AISATS Cool­port is the first in­te­grated on-air­port per­ish­able cargo han­dling cen­tre in In­dia. The fa­cil­ity was estab­lished to aid the Gov­ern­ment of Kar­nataka’s vi­sion to make the state a gate­way for per­ish­able and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal cargo in South In­dia. Spread over an area of 11,000 square me­tres, the COOL­PORT un­der­takes com­pre­hen­sive ex­port and im­port cargo han­dling un­der one roof through the ex­ten­sive range of fa­cil­i­ties of­fered. The per­ish­able cargo ter­mi­nal has an an­nual han­dling ca­pac­ity of 40,000 met­ric tonnes, with the abil­ity to meet the han­dling de­mands of tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive cargo rang­ing from flow­ers, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts, seafood, poul­try, dairy, and fruits and veg­eta­bles. The ded­i­cated per­ish­able cen­tre com­prises of 17 cold stor­age rooms with cus­tomised tem­per­a­ture con­trols rang­ing from -250C to 250C and Re­frig­er­ated Queue Lanes with a tem­per­a­ture range of 20C to 80C for uni­tised ship­ments, de­pend­ing on the kind of per­ish­able com­mod­ity. This key fea­ture al­lows per­ish­ables to be stored in tem­per­a­ture sur­round­ings re­quired to main­tain ef­fi­cacy of the prod­uct. This cut­tingedge per­ish­able cen­tre is also equipped with a Drug Con­troller Lab Test­ing Fa­cil­ity, Plant Quar­an­tine In­spec­tion and Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Fa­cil­ity and in house Cus­tom Clear­ances which fa­cil­i­tate in re­duc­ing the dwell time of the ship­ments. Ded­i­cated X-ray ma­chines for per­ish­able and pharma prod­ucts avoid cross con­tam­i­na­tion of ship­ments.

What have been the key high­lights and achieve­ments dur­ing the year?

The AISATS COOL­PORT was built to han­dle the in­creas­ing de­mand for tem­per­a­ture­sen­si­tive cargo in South In­dia. Since its in­cep­tion, this pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity has pro­vided seam­less han­dling of per­ish­ables, us­ing the cold chain in­fra­struc­ture, tech­nol­ogy and well-trained per­son­nel. The AISATS COOL­PORT has wit­nessed a dy­namic jour­ney since the start of its op­er­a­tions in 2016, with many firsts and ac­cred­i­ta­tions to its name. It is the first on-air­port cargo han­dling cen­tre in the coun­try to se­cure the Haz­ard Anal­y­sis and Crit­i­cal Con­trol Points (HACCP) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in or­der to en­sure safety of the per­ish­able cargo. The HACCP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is an in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion which guar­an­tees that the high­est safety stan­dards are in place at the COOL­PORT to en­sure safety and fresh­ness of the per­ish­able prod­uct. Be­sides this, the COOL­PORT also has the Good Dis­tri­bu­tion Prac­tices (GDP) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in place, which as­sures that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals are han­dled in line with the guide­lines of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO).

As a pro­po­nent of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, AISATS has de­vel­oped and launched the ‘AISATS Cargo App’ to fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter cargo track­ing at the AISATS COOL­PORT and at the Air Freight Ter­mi­nal lo­cated at Kem­pe­gowda In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Ben­galuru. The user-friendly app pro­vides trans­parency in the sup­ply chain and fur­nishes real time data on flight sched­ules, Air Way Bill (AWB), ship­ment track­ing and e-De­liv­ery Or­der (e-DO) sta­tus to all the stake­hold­ers. The per­ish­able cen­tre has also ini­ti­ated reefer truck­ing ser­vices be­tween the per­ish­able cen­tre (COOL­PORT) and ma­jor cities in South and Cen­tral In­dia. This val­ueadded ser­vice was started with the aim to add / ex­tend an un­bro­ken cold chain from the source of pro­duce till the ware­house. The reefer ve­hi­cles are equipped with data log­gers and GPS (Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem) for ac­cu­rate track­ing.

Are there any plans to en­hance the ca­pac­ity?

The cen­tre is de­signed to han­dle 40,000 MT of per­ish­able cargo per an­num and, as­sum­ing a year-toyear growth of 13 per cent for tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive cargo, we are con­fi­dent of pro­vid­ing high quality ware­hous­ing and han­dling ser­vices for the next few years fol­lowed by sub­se­quent ca­pac­ity ex­pan­sions in the years that fol­low.

What was the per­cent­age of in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic cargo han­dled by the AISATS COOL­PORT since its in­cep­tion? Which per­ish­able prod­uct ac­counted for the high­est ex­port/im­port?

Since the start of trial op­er­a­tions in Oc­to­ber 2016, the vol­ume of per­ish­able cargo han­dled at the AISATS COOL­PORT has been 20,135 met­ric tonnes for in­ter­na­tional cargo (ex­port and im­port).

Among the var­i­ous types of per­ish­able cargo han­dled, fruits and veg­eta­bles ac­count for 75 per cent of the en­tire cargo vol­ume traded at AISATS COOL­PORT, fol­lowed by 15 per cent for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, five per cent for cut flow­ers and five per cent for mis­cel­la­neous tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive cargo. Al­though trad­ing of per­ish­able cargo has shown sig­nif­i­cant growth, pharma han­dling has shown tremen­dous po­ten­tial within the In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­ket, which, ac­cord­ing to AS­SOCHAM, is poised to ex­ceed USD 55 mil­lion by 2020.

In fact, the COOL­PORT has ob­served a 62 per cent growth in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal han­dling within the first year of its op­er­a­tions. To give you an idea of the surge in de­mand for pharma han­dling at Ben­galuru, AISATS COOL­PORT has also han­dled pharma ship­ments from Chen­nai, Hy­der­abad, Goa, Mumbai and Visakha­p­at­nam. The per­ish­ables han­dling cen­tre has ef­fort­lessly han­dled 60 En­vi­ro­tain­ers, 13 VaQ- Tain­ers and other tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled pack­ing units such as World Courier Co­coon, VIP box, Chronos Express, Ice­box, etc. dur­ing the first year of op­er­a­tions. To main­tain the per­fect am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture for pharma ship­ments dur­ing tran­sit, the AISATS COOL­PORT also pro­vides sin­gle use cus­tom made ther­mal cover for US and Euro pharma skids along with ther­mal pack­ing and la­belling ser­vices.

What is the cur­rent sce­nario of the cold chain in­dus­try?

The In­dian lo­gis­tics sec­tor is at the thresh­old of change, where lo­gis­tics play­ers are re­al­is­ing the ur­gent need to adopt cold chain tech­nol­ogy as an in­te­gral part of the sup­ply chain. In­dia cur­rently has ap­prox. 6,300 cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 30.11 met­ric tonnes per fa­cil­ity, which is only able to cater to 11 per cent of the coun­try’s to­tal per­ish­able pro­duce. The cold sup­ply chain net­work pro­tects per­ish­ables from de­com­po­si­tion, tex­tu­ral degra­da­tion, dis­colour­ing, and mi­cro­bial growth, thereby pre­serv­ing the fresh­ness and in­creas­ing the shelf life of the prod­uct. It is im­per­a­tive for In­dia to de­velop an ef­fi­cient cold chain in­fra­struc­ture that main­tains the in­tegrity of the sup­ply chain at all stages in or­der to re­tain, and to po­ten­tially sur­pass, its po­si­tion as the sec­ond largest pro­ducer of fruits and veg­eta­bles, and as one of the largest pro­duc­ers of milk.

Mo­bil­is­ing large-scale in­vest­ments, mod­ernising the food sup­ply chain, ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture and up­dated tech­nol­ogy, thor­oughly trained per­son­nel, and un­in­ter­rupted power sup­ply are some ini­tia­tives that can help trans­form the In­dian cold chain in­dus­try into a ma­jor player within the global mar­kets. In ad­di­tion, the gov­ern­ment re­cently con­ferred the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try with in­fra­struc­ture sta­tus, which will en­able the in­dus­try to ac­quire cheaper fi­nances to de­velop cold chains, ware­houses and in­dus­trial parks.

Among the var­i­ous types of per­ish­able cargo han­dled, fruits and veg­eta­bles ac­count for 75 % of cargo vol­ume traded at AISATS COOL­PORT

Mike Chew CEO AISATS

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