Mov­ing TEM­PER­A­TURE sen­si­tive cargo re­spon­si­bly

Main­tain­ing the qual­ity of tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tive and per­ish­able cargo across the cold chain is chal­leng­ing in In­dia ow­ing to sev­eral is­sues re­lat­ing to in­fra­struc­ture, ef­fi­ciency of hu­man re­sources and ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tri­bu­tion of cold stor­age sys­tems

Maritime Gateway - - Contents - By Manoj Pant, Re­gional Busi­ness Man­ager (West) Snow­man Lo­gis­tics Ltd.

Main­tain­ing the qual­ity of tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tive and per­ish­able cargo across the cold chain is chal­leng­ing in In­dia

Cold chain in­dus­try has evolved over the years and has played a cru­cial role in help­ing other in­dus­tries thrive, ul­ti­mately boost­ing the Indian econ­omy. Indian Cold Chain in­dus­try is ex­pected to grow at a CAGR of 28 per cent, over the next 4 years and reach a mar­ket size of $13 bil­lion in 2017 – 2018, through in­creased in­vest­ments, mod­ern­iza­tion of ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties, and es­tab­lish­ment of new ven­tures, via pri­vate and govern­ment part­ner­ships. The Indian cold chain mar­ket is highly frag­mented with more than 3,500 com­pa­nies in the whole value sys­tem, with or­ga­nized play­ers con­tribut­ing 8–10 per cent of the cold chain in­dus­try mar­ket. How­ever, the mar­ket is grad­u­ally

get­ting or­gan­ised and fo­cus to­wards multi-pur­pose cold stor­ages is ris­ing.

Indian cold chain sec­tor – Ex­pected growth

A fast-paced life­style, chang­ing eat­ing habits, higher pur­chas­ing power of con­sumers are not only fu­elling ex­pan­sion and growth of quick ser­vice restau­rants (QSRS) across In­dia, but also of the cold chain lo­gis­tics in­dus­try, which helps food reach fast and fresh. The mar­ket for chain restau­rants in­clud­ing cafes and QSR is ex­pected to grow at 20 per cent a year to reach `51,000 crore ($8bn) by 2021. Cold Chain plays a key role in sup­ply­ing food quick and fresh, en­abling QSR In­dus­try to meet the grow­ing de­mand. The biggest chal­lenge faced by any

QSR in Indian mar­ket, be it a do­mes­tic or an in­ter­na­tional player is to main­tain con­sis­tency of the prod­uct and qual­ity of ser­vice across var­i­ous out­lets. The QSR fo­cuses on pro­vid­ing stan­dard­iza­tion in both prod­uct and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Chal­lenges in the reefer trans­porta­tion

One of the cru­cial as­pects of cold chain lo­gis­tics is to have a seam­less re­frig­er­ated trans­porta­tion net­work. 32 per cent of re­frig­er­ated cargo loaded onto re­frig­er­ated ve­hi­cles is at the wrong tem­per­a­ture at the time of load­ing. Many times, cargo is left sit­ting too long on the load­ing dock, and the car­rier runs the risk of the load be­ing re­jected by the re­ceiver. Trans­port re­frig­er­a­tion units are not de­signed to al­ter the tem­per­a­ture of the cargo; they are de­signed to main­tain the cargo at the loaded tem­per­a­ture. If trans­port re­frig­er­a­tion unit fails, the sen­si­tive cargo is at risk.

Qual­ity cold ware­house in­fra­struc­ture

Nearly 75 per cent of the cold stor­age in­fra­struc­ture cre­ated in the past is suit­able only to store sin­gle com­mod­ity, ren­der­ing them fu­tile for utiliz­ing for the multi tem­per­a­ture and multi com­mod­ity stor­age.

Low aware­ness

In In­dia, the sup­ply chain of prod­ucts is quite long and frag­mented, given the lack of aware­ness of labour­ers in han­dling tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled prod­ucts. Most re­sources are not suit­ably trained. Cold chain in­dus­try con­sists of mul­ti­ple play­ers, of which, 85 per cent con­sti­tute the un­or­ga­nized play­ers, who are un­able to in­vest much in the tech­nol­ogy re­quired, to build high qual­ity cold stor­ages, along with reefer trucks.

Un­even dis­tri­bu­tion of cold stor­age

The un­even dis­tri­bu­tion of ca­pac­i­ties of the ex­ist­ing cold stor­ages, where only sin­gle com­modi­ties can be stored are a ma­jor is­sue. The ma­jor­ity of cold stor­ages in In­dia have been es­tab­lished in states like Ut­tar Pradesh, Ut­tarak­hand, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Gu­jarat, Pun­jab and West Ben­gal. But the es­tab­lish­ment of such cold stor­ages needs to be more ge­o­graph­i­cally di­verse and uni­form.

Elec­tric­ity avail­abil­ity & Pan-in­dia sup­ply

Cur­rently, In­dia faces about 9 per cent of peak power deficit, which en­forces the use of fuel based op­er­a­tions, lead­ing to a marked in­crease in op­er­at­ing costs. The ma­jor­ity of elec­tric­ity de­fi­ciency and un­avail­abil­ity could be found in the ma­jor agrar­ian states of the coun­try, hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of cold stor­ages.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for way for­ward In­fra­struc­ture cre­ation & man­age­ment

In­fra­struc­ture cre­ation in the cold chain sec­tor has been iden­ti­fied as an im­por­tant fac­tor for growth and is re­ceiv­ing a fair amount of sup­port from the govern­ment. A holis­tic ap­proach to ad­dress­ing all the stages of the sup­ply chain needs to be con­sid­ered. In­dia has a well-con­nected rail­way net­work, with a fair share of it, cov­ered un­der sta­ble power grid. This can be used for in­creas­ing the con­nec­tiv­ity of the reefer trans­porta­tion. De­vel­op­ment of more per­ish­able cargo cen­tres in the key lo­cal­i­ties, mak­ing avail­able enough reefer con­tain­ers with grid con­nec­tiv­ity and pri­or­ity in clear­ing the trains car­ry­ing per­ish­able cargo are the key in­tents re­quired to make this ac­tion­able.

Tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment

Cold chain com­pa­nies are in­stru­men­tal in adopt­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies, but the lack of prior data about pro­duce with the frag­mented sup­ply chain, is hin­der­ing in re­al­iz­ing the ad­van­tage of cold chain com­pletely. On tech­nol­ogy front, the fol­low­ing as­pects are to be taken up:

• Pro­mo­tion of re­search and de­vel­op­ment of low cost tech­nolo­gies to ad­dress the glitches of lo­cal sup­ply chains.

• De­vel­op­ing the mon­i­tor­ing and track­ing mod­els with tech­nolo­gies like WSN and IOT, rep­re­sent­ing the lo­cal con­di­tions, is the need of the hour.

• Low cost and small ca­pac­ity reefer trucks with tech­nolo­gies like PCM’S are to be de­vel­oped to con­nect the dif­fi­cult areas.

• Trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy should be as­sisted with small and large scale demon­stra­tion projects and fis­cal in­cen­tives.

Pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion

Cold chain sec­tor is re­ceiv­ing the best pol­icy sup­port from mul­ti­ple agen­cies like MOFPI, NHB, APEDA, State gov­ern­ments etc. It is im­mensely im­por­tant that a fo­cused ef­fort is re­quired on part of the govern­ment to en­cour­age the use of cold chain, among mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. Fine tun­ing of sup­port is re­quired on the fol­low­ing as­pects:

• Pro­vide re­quired sup­port like funds for set­ting up cold chain in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties.

• Cre­at­ing aware­ness cam­paign and ed­u­cat­ing mar­ket par­tic­i­pant about the im­por­tance of cold chain fa­cil­i­ties.

• State gov­ern­ments can en­cour­age set­ting up of cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties by pro­vid­ing sub­si­dized power tar­iff, as power forms a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of the op­er­at­ing cost.

• Sup­port should be ex­tended to lo­cal com­pa­nies in the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nolo­gies like RFID, WSN, and IOT.

Food safety reg­u­la­tion

Prod­uct and stor­age stan­dards are clearly laid for frozen foods and other tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tive foods by FSSAI. But there is no clear un­der­stand­ing about the food safety risks of frozen or tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tive foods in the sup­ply chain. There is a need for de­vel­op­ing prod­uct/ prod­uct group spe­cific guide­lines and im­por­tantly, risk mit­i­ga­tion plans for food safety haz­ards aris­ing from sup­ply chain fail­ures.

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