Not like most developed nations, chilly chain in India has been restricted to secondary and tertiary distribution segments – for motion of products from factories to CFAs and from there to distributors. This meant that a lot of the final mile supply was both carried out in ambient circumstances or with unsafe, unsustainable options leading to product spoilage and wastage.
Use of efficient chilly chain options was by no means thought of a precedence till COVID 19 hit us. Because the nation grapples with one among its best challenges of manufacturing sufficient vaccines to inoculate each Indian, making certain supply of the identical to each Indian with out spoilage is a frightening problem.
The lockdowns and restrictions that had been imposed due to the pandemic additionally pressured many companies to revise their enterprise fashions and change to house supply options. This too known as for efficient chilly chain logistics options. The demand was additional spiked by growing shopper consciousness and the necessity to adjust to fundamental high quality requirements.
Historically chilly chain in India has relied predominantly on diesel run refrigerated automobile options. These cooling options for chilly chain distribution require a steady energy supply from a automobile and runs on diesel, making them very costly for smaller bundle sizes. Given the big prices incurred in transportation, standard options remained unviable for many stakeholders forcing them to interrupt the chilly chain or use unproven “jugaad”, particularly in direction of shopper/retail finish of the chain. This severely impacts product high quality and spoils buyer expertise.
Nevertheless, immediately with superior Section Change Materials (PCM) based mostly options, these points are getting resolved. PCM can present desired temperature management (from -25oC to +25oC) throughout enclosures starting from a 5 litre bag to a 20 toes (10 ton) truck, enabling most producers and transporters to make sure the chilly chain just isn’t damaged. The core know-how makes use of proprietary PCM warmth exchangers and chargers that retailer thermal vitality and launch it as required throughout the transport. Due to this fact, these options want don’t want any energy supply throughout transport and are impartial of the kind of automobile used. This not solely presents flexibility on measurement and transport automobile growing entry to fragmented normal commerce, but additionally reduces the price considerably.
These options have confirmed to be a boon particularly for the motion of vaccines. Extremely progressive options which use specialised PCM batteries in insulated luggage and containers can cowl all temperatures from -70oC ( for ) to -20oC (required for Moderna and Sputnik) and to 2-8 C required for different vaccines like Covaxin and Covishield. They’re additionally capable of provide temperature assure in Indian ambient circumstances (40oC) for 24-96 hours. These options allow vaccine producers and transporters to move vaccines to the remotest corners of the nation in dry ambient autos thereby serving to make our nation’s imaginative and prescient of inoculating each Indian a actuality.
Weather conditions additionally play a job within the chilly chain logistics market. A big a part of the chilly chain transport is seasonal in nature and requires multi temperature fleets even on smaller automobile platforms. Typical models that are mounted on vehicles want devoted fleets making chilly chain transportation unreliable or inconceivable for many merchandise and bundle sizes in India. This impacts meals high quality and will increase wastage. PCM based mostly improvements are simply capable of provide automobile impartial options that assure temperature much like these provided by refrigerated vehicles. These options comprise of insulated containers of various sizes starting from 500 litres to 2500 litres fitted with PCM batteries that may be loaded and unloaded on dry autos relying on transport requirement. These options don’t require devoted fleets and provide decrease automobile capex and excessive fuels effectivity to the transporters. A smaller automobile not solely turns into economical for chilly chain transportation, but it surely additionally presents a sustainable different to diesel based mostly options, thereby lowering the environmental affect.
Whereas all types of numbers have been floating round in regards to the potential of chilly chain market in India, it may be estimated that it involves round $2 billion. The precise near-term marketplace for chilly chain city distribution logistics (final mile) contemplating solely particular meals and e-commerce segments is near 1650 crore and based mostly on particular person segments, it’s rising at 16% CAGR to 3000 crore by 2024-25.
The house supply phase is rising at a 65%. The precise chilly chain penetration on this market is lower than 40% within the meals house and goes up with elevated consciousness of the shoppers. Nevertheless, with the elevated concentrate on vaccine distribution, progress in meals processing, retail and meals supply markets for perishables, over the following 5 years is certain to extend every year.
(The author is founder & CEO, Tessol)