FRUIT­FUL BUSI­NESS!

IG In­ter­na­tional im­ports ex­otic va­ri­ety of fresh fruits from 25 coun­tries and dis­trib­utes them through its PAN In­dia net­work. Tarun Arora, CEO of the com­pany de­tails on their plans to ex­pand cold chain oper­a­tions along the north eastern part of the countr

Maritime Gateway - - Contents - Omer Ahmed Sid­diqui

TARUN ARORA, CEO, IG IN­TER­NA­TIONAL

QHow was the busi­ness at IG In­ter­na­tional in 2017? A Over­all, IG In­ter­na­tional wit­nessed pos­i­tive growth in 2017.We added a lot of new prod­ucts -Med­jool dates from Jor­dan, Turk­ish lemons, av­o­ca­dos from New Zealand, Stemilt cher­ries, per­sim­mons and blue­ber­ries from the Usa-into our ex­ist­ing wide as­sort­ment of ex­otic fruits in the past year. Re­cently, we in­tro­duced Stemilt’s Piñata ap­ples, Eu­rope’s best­known Pink Lady ap­ples and New Zealand’s DIVA ap­ples. Our ex­panded prod­uct port­fo­lio and con­sis­tent de­mand for ex­ist­ing prod­ucts have been piv­otal in our sus­tained growth.

Q What are your growth and ex­pan­sion plans in the next two years?

A At IG, we han­dle 80 mil­lion kg of fresh pro­duce, and the de­mand for it is grow­ing at an an­nual rate of 30-40 per cent. We have also ven­tured into the In­dian pro­duce mar­ket by set­ting up sourc­ing hubs in Hi­machal Pradesh for ap­ples and Am­ra­vati in Ma­ha­rash­tra for cit­rus fruits. We are look­ing at a growth of around 20 per cent YOY for the next two years. We are one of the largest cold chain com­pa­nies in In­dia. We aim to fur­ther strengthen our po­si­tion of fresh pro­duce in the mar­ket by 2020 with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 55-000-60,000 pal­lets, and open more cold stor­ages in Kolkata and the North East.

Q Which is the hin­ter­land served by IG In­ter­na­tional?

A IG In­ter­na­tional im­ports 31 global va­ri­eties of fruits from across 25 coun­tries and uses its ex­cep­tional dis­tri­bu­tion net­work to cater to a pan-in­dia mar­ket. We have made our pres­ence felt in 27 cities, in­clud­ing Mum­bai, Ban­ga­lore, Delhi, Ahmed­abad, Chen­nai, Pune, Lud­hi­ana, Jalandhar, Hy­der­abad, Luc­know, Kolkata, Chandi­garh, Jodh­pur, Udaipur, Cochin, Patna, Jaipur, Goa, Kan­pur, In­dore and Vi­jayawada. The hin­ter­land ar­eas served by IG In­ter­na­tional are in Tier 3 cities such as Raipur, Am­ra­vati, Ganaur and Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam.

Q Which are the ma­jor fruit ex­ports and im­ports hap­pen­ing from In­dia and what are the des­ti­na­tion mar­kets?

A IG In­ter­na­tional im­ports fruits like ap­ples, pears, or­anges, ki­wis, plums, grapes, av­o­ca­dos, cher­ries and blue­ber­ries. IG In­ter­na­tional mainly im­ports ap­ples from Wash­ing­ton, China, and Eu­rope for the do­mes­tic mar­ket. We im­port also or­anges from Egypt and South Africa and pears from China. While we have been ac­tively in­volved in ex­ports by in­vest­ing in third par­ties who were ship­ping prod­ucts over­seas, we in­de­pen­dently for­ayed into fruit ex­ports from 2017.We kick-started our ex­port busi­ness with grapes that were sourced from prom­i­nent belts in In­dia like Nashik, Satana, Male­gaon, Bara­mati and San­gli, which pro­duce the high­est qual­ity ta­ble grapes in In­dia. Dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of black seed­less, green seed­less, and red seed­less are ex­ported by IG Grapes to all of Eu­rope, Rus­sia and sev­eral South Asian coun­tries. Apart from grapes, we also ex­port fruits like ba­nanas and pomegranates.

Q How are the fa­cil­i­ties at In­dian ports for han­dling reefer cargo? Which are the pain points that need to be im­proved?

A We have 14 cold stor­ages across In­dia. Six amongst them are around Nhava Sheva, Chen­nai and Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam, which are at port lo­ca­tions. The In­dian ports have out­stand­ing ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties. How­ever, the con­ges­tion at ports is the big­gest pain point that needs sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.

Q Tell us about the cold stor­age mar­ket in In­dia? What are the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges?

A In­dia’s cold chain mar­ket of­fers 100 per cent FDI, mon­e­tary and tax ben­e­fits and govt ini­tia­tives. Chal­lenges in­clude fre­quent power cuts, in­ad­e­quate labour knowl­edge and train­ing in han­dling tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive prod­ucts, high lev­els of food wastage.

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