might have been adopted by a select few? SS: Select few yes, if we look at the overall numbers. There are 6000 cold storages and only 200 can be called modern. But if you make the same comparison of potatoes vs others which I made, the new cold storages could be 200 and out of that 180 are with modern technologies. Point is: people are now aware. They know that technology is available and the world of difference it can bring to their operations. PK: Technology is adopted by a progressive user. And when he does that, there are scores of others who would like to emulate. And why do they emulate? Not purely for imitationâ€™s sake but more because of the reason that they realise the importance of technology today. The old equations for running cold storages hardly exist any more â€“ free electricity, cheap diesel, etc. The cost of running a cold storage has gone up significantly. So technology adoption has become necessary to make your operations viable. You invest in technology because your operating cost would come down and long term sustainability would improve, as well as to safeguard your cargo. All this has happened in last ten years. In fact, in the same period many business dynamics have changed. Technology has become cheaper, its viability improved because operating costs came down, adoption became easier because you had examples around you. And this has inspired a lot of existing units who have gone for upgradation. Techonological upgradation could be in terms of insulation, handling systems, machinery, monitoring mechanism- all that has happened in last ten years. B D Narang (BDN): I am pretty impressed with what previous speakers have highlighted. I think time has really come to get started in a big way on cold chains and for this it is imperative to prepare broad project reports for handling temperature controlled products. The focus should be on mutli-commodity cold chain system. I fully agree with the onion crisis example cited by Sanjay. The problem was not with the level of production but rather with logistical arrangements. We have a large variety of very expensive, high valued products and it is no secret to anybody that they should be preserved for longer duration. Just to cite an example, lichi has shelf life of only 15 days and the product is available for one month only. With little input, the shelf life of this product can be increased to five-six months. With good cold chain system, we are told the shelf life of apples can be increased to a year. As I said earlier, the onion crisis had happened because for 27 days transport wagons were not available at the source hubs. If in Nasik or Jalgaon market, you have the product in abundance but there is no storage and transportation facility, then the crisis is bound to happen. My suggestion is if we can involve experts and prepare draft project reports focusing on areas of abundant production, it would be a great help. My own experience says that when it LOGISTICS TIMES November 2012
Bankers have never considered cold chain a promising business. Now the question is why? Traditionally, it has been set up by entrepreneurs mostly in mandi locations. And they have not been looked upon as entrepreneurs who would tend to think on scientific lines. - B D Narang comes to cold chain management, we are by and large living in the past. Many of the stakeholders in this business in different parts of the country might not even be aware of what changes have happened in last ten years. I think, draft reports can help them a lot in terms of getting abreast with the contemporary trends. Most of the cold chains which are being put up today are already outdated. My feeling is most of the entrepreneurs who are willing to put up a cold chain project are not aware of the developments which have taken place in last ten years in technology. Earlier we used to call it cold storage, now we are calling it temeperature controlled. What does it mean?
Published on Dec 3, 2013