'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

Major Indian trucker moves into refrigerated transportation

Major Indian trucker moves into refrigerated transportation

Delhi, India: Transport Corporation of India is moving into the cold chain logistics in order to tap into rapidly growing demand for refrigerated cargo services in the country.

Transport Corporation of India is moving into the cold chain logistics

Transport Corporation of India is moving into the cold chain logistics

The company on Wednesday opened a 250,000-square-foot temperature-controlled warehouse and distribution center at Gurgaon, an industrial and manufacturing point near Delhi, and said it plans to develop a chain of cold storage facilities in the country over the next five years.

“This warehouse is one more step towards continuous commitment to our clients. Our plan is to build a nationwide cold chain logistics network comprising five large-scale cold storage facilities by 2020,” TCI group managing director Vineet Agarwal said in a statement.

The new site, which features advanced warehouse management and distribution systems, can store up to 5,000 pallets. Its operations will be managed by TCI Group’s “supply chain solutions” division, according to the statement.
Gurgaon-based TCI currently has a fleet of more than 9,000 trucks, four cargo ships for coastal operations, 10.5 million square feet of warehouse space and eight fulfillment centers. Last month, the company set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Bangladesh with the goal of extending its coastal feeder reach to the neighboring country.

TCI’s entry into the cold storage market follows on the heels of Kerry Logistics acquiring a majority stake in Chennai-based Indev Logistics in an attempt to consolidate its presence in the country. The Hong Kong-based third-party logistics provider is looking to invest about Rs. 1,000 crore (approximately $150 million) in warehousing and cold storage infrastructure in India over the next two years.

Other leading cold storage providers have also been ramping up operations in India to meet expected growth in reefer cargo shipments. Snowman Logistics Ltd. last month opened a new cold storage facility at Jaipur in the northern state of Rajasthan, taking its total storage capacity to 98,500 pallets.

To grab a slice of that booming trade, Indian Railways is also investing in new cold storage infrastructure through its logistics arms Container Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation and Central Railside Warehouse Company. Concor last year set up a cold storage facility in Adarsh Nagar, near Delhi, while CWC and CRWC have identified several suitable locations for cold storage development.

Studies by industry consultants show India’s cold chain industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 28 percent and should reach about $13 billion by 2017 and 2018.