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TECHNOLOGY

Winter Logistics sees huge scope for development of cold chain in India
Monday, 15 January, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru  
Winter Logistics sees huge scope for the development of the cold chain sector in India. Government support, like capital investment subsidies, duty cuts and food parks, are expected to further open up the opportunities for setting up cold chains.

However, the country needs to put in place the right marketing strategies to create an efficient supply chain management system.

The top 10 cold storages globally have a capacity of 13.23 crore pallets, whereas in India, the total capacity is approximately 5.5 lakh pallets. Out of this, state-of-the-art facilities account for about 2.10 lakh pallets and traditional facilities account for about three lakh pallets.

“Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in the cold chain space,” said Pradeep Kumar Dubey, managing director, Winter Logistics, at WhatsHapp Foods – v3.0, which was organised by Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC).

Speaking on Cold Chain in India and the Way Forward, he pointed out that several gaps existed in the cold chain transport and warehousing. These covered the high costs of construction and operations. There is also a seasonal impact on the sector, and new product development is still in a nascent stage.

However, the government was keen to see improved infrastructure. Under the National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP), capital investment subsidy is provided at 35 per cent of appraised project cost by the bank or financial institution (FI), excluding the cost of land, pre-operative expenses, margin money for working capital and contingency, subject to a maximum of Rs 50 million.

Further, there are duty cuts. The concessional custom duty of five per cent is provided on imported equipment for cold chain facilities under the project import benefits.

All refrigeration machinery and parts used for installation of cold storage facilities, cold rooms or refrigerated vehicles are exempted from excise duty.

The food parks project initiated by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) provide a mechanism to bring together farmers, processors and retailers and link agricultural production to the market, so as to ensure maximum value addition, minimal wastage, thereby increasing farmers income and creating employment.

Here, the cold chain industry has different business models. One is a platform where the traders use cold chains services. The other is that there are third-party cold chain providers on rentals.

There are temperature-controlled warehousing (TCW) and temperature-controlled transportation (TCT), primary and secondary last-mile connectivity and business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).

Value-added services like sorting, grading, packaging, bulk breaking, pre-cooling, stickers, gift packaging and blast freezing.

The technology used in cold chain outlets are ordinary cold chain storage, gas-controlled cold storage, controlled atmosphere cold storage and deep-freezer storage.   

The key components of cold storage are procurement and delivery systems, pre-cooling facilities, which help reduce the rate of water loss and maintain freshness and quality of the products mainly fruits and vegetables.

There are refrigerated vehicles, cold stores/controlled atmosphere (CA) stores, refrigerated retail outlets, information systems and traceability.  

By building an efficient and effective supply chain using advanced techniques, it is possible to serve the population with value-added food while simultaneously ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers.

The surplus of cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, fish, meat and poultry can be processed as value added food products and marketed aggressively both locally and internationally.

“Investments in cold chain infrastructure, applied research in post-harvest technologies, installation of food processing plants in various sectors and development of food retailing sector are mandatory for achieving gains in this sector,” Dubey said.

“Strategic growth plans for achieving both national and international competitiveness of the food industry are essential,” he added.

“However, the lack of electricity, power supply and other supporting infrastructure are a big deterrent in setting up such facilities,” Dubey said.

“The economic impact of cold chains will be felt in the villages. Farmers will get better realisations for their produce due to improved quality and shelf life,” he added.
 
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