When it comes to monitoring storage and transportation of temperature sensitive products, cold chain is necessary – mostly for agricultural products, drugs and medicines. Cold chain logistics, through thermal and refrigerated packaging methods, keep all products fresh and sealed. In India, cold chain has been seeing a visible growth in horticulture produce, meat and dairy over the past decade.
The state of cold chain management in India is gradually getting organized as the focus on multi-purpose storage is rising. India’s global share in export of fruits and vegetables is around 1.5%, whereas it stands top three in production of commodities like poultry, milk, fisheries, spices – being the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world.
The cold chain logistics companies in India are widely spread across – the Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern and Central regions.Cold chain logistics are classified into two segments:
- Temperature Controlled Warehouses
- Temperature Controlled Vehicles
The cold chain management’s forecast and opportunities this year, in Indian market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.7% in 2017, which will reach US$ 11.6 Billion by the end of this year. There are about more than 3,500 players present in the cold chain market, in India which also includes some small players in large numbers trying to make it big in the industry. With the increasing ratio of large private players in the industry, the cold chain logistics will get more organized in the arena.
However, the cold chain management in India deals with efficient control and organization of logistics and production regarding temperature. A successful cold chain management comprises of proper planning and implementation of instruments and methods of monitoring process and control. Optimization of product quality and its safety and minimization of wastage should be the main principle aim of a successful cold chain logistics.
However, there are some key challenges in the cold chain industry in India –
- Lack of quality – there is however, lack of quality in the warehousing infrastructure. The severe shortage of cold warehousing capacity being 25% is available for vegetables, fruits, processed foods and pharmaceuticals, while 75% capacity is dedicated to potatoes.
- Lack of standards and protocols – there is a gap in the standards and protocols of the constructions and operation facilities due to the technical standards which are not suitable for Indian conditions, which results in poor performance of refrigerated systems.
- Lack of awareness – in India, the supply chain of products is quite long and fragmented because of the lack of awareness of labour in handling temperature-controlled products. Most labours are not properly trained.
- Power cuts and fuel cost – cold storages highly depend on steady supply of power and most Indian regions face constant power cuts. Cold chain storage warehouses have to invest in power back-ups for a steady movement.