Tapping opportunities in the cold chain

In a highly fragmented and unorganised market, TCI Cold Chain Solutions makes a difference by providing state-of-the-art cold chain infrastructure at strategic locations. B Sumit Kumar, CEO, TCI Cold Chain Solutions Ltd, details on the potential in this growing sector and plans of TCI to tap opportunities through a focussed approach

Q What type of commodities do you handle in cold chain? How is the growth in this sector?

Cold chain has experienced phenomenal growth in the last few years, with growth almost doubling every 5 years and this trend is here to stay! To tap the opportunities in hand and have a more focussed approach in this business a new company “TCI Cold Chain Solutions Limited” got incorporated last year. We handle QSR, chocolate and confectionery, Dairy Products, Food and Beverages, Fruit and vegetables, Meat, Poultry & Seafood, Pharma & Life sciences, and Speciality Chemicals.

Q You have recently opened a 2,50,000-square-foot temperaturecontrolled warehouse and distribution centre at Gurgaon. Why in Gurgaon?

The Facility in Gurgaon is a common facility which includes cold, chilled, frozen and ambient warehouse. Here we have an installed capacity of 5000 pallets for cold chain storage, operating at a temperature range of +30 to -30 degrees and a blast chamber.

Primarily, out motive was to provide a strategic location to our clients in NCR (Post GST) at the best cost. The warehouse is strategically located in between KMP (Kundli- Manesar-Palwal Expressway) and Dwarka Expressway, just Behind NH8 on Pataudi Road. Some of our clients have closed down their warehouses at multiple locations in NCR and have consolidated their operation in our facility.

Q Could you briefly elaborate on the technological aspects of your cold chain supply distribution?

The use of telematics and a central control tower for our operations enables 24×7 temperature and fleet monitoring. In terms of storage we have a SCADA System which sets the temperature, humidity, plant pressures, and also gives chamber wise complete data logger report.

Q What backups do you have to handle unexpected breakdowns? Can customers remotely check the ambient parameters?

We believe and practice, preventive maintenance schedule for all our assets, only post that, truck goes for loading. Our reefer units are equipped with a state of art capability of checking itself “Pre-Trip” once the command is given reefer unit does a self-health check-up and confirms its health for next load. However, due to technical reasons / unforeseen circumstances, breakdown do happen and for countering that we have the below options available:

  1. a) AMC (annual maintenance contract) with our service providers like plant, truck & reefer company is to attend the issues within 4 hours anywhere in country. We also keep minor spares with manuals in each trucks like fuse, belts, consumables etc.
  2. b) All the trucks are equipped with a provision of cooling the product through electricity as well, so due to truck failure if anything happens we just need a power cable point to operate the reefer unit.
  3. d) Our company has got presence in 1400 location across the country so approach to any problem is always an edge for us.

  1. e) We also have mapping done for all the cold warehouses in the nation and have option to temporary store the product to the nearest facility.

Q What would you like from the government in terms of policy change or infrastructure?

Government is doing lot of work through MOFPI, NCCD and Ministry of Agriculture. In cold chain, we feel major issue we have are related to the control and governance in terms of:

  1. Quality of reefer unit in trucks or storage: Like for automobile one needs to approve each and every component through ARAI but in cold chain business one can get the units manufactured from anywhere, same is the case of insulated containers.
  2. There is no control or policy for a GPS and data logger service provider, so things are going for a toss, recently Ministry of Road transport and highways has come up with a Gazette Notification that every public service (commercial) vehicle must have a AIS-140 GPS devise. This will be directly linked to government servers to fetch data of movement, mainly for safety and addressing issues related to E-Way bills, here we think government should add clause that all cold chain vehicles must be equipped with temperature sensors in the same AIS 140 devise and data should be captured and stored on real time basis by Government.