Last month when Maersk, the global integrated logistics company, delivered its first end-to-end shipment of freshly produced green chillies from Varanasi to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates (UAE) within nine days, it was among the initial efforts by the company to get agriculture exporters to use its services.
Maersk, in fact, is working closely with Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA) to enable trade opportunities through land and sea routes. This is a part of government efforts to work with transportation players in order to meet the target of $60 billion in agriculture exports by 2024.
“We are preparing a scheme where agri product exports even via airways are being looked into apart from ocean transportation for faster movement of agri cargo overseas,” an official at APEDA told Business Standard on condition of anonymity.
APEDA is an organization under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the firm is exporting agri products worth $38 billion, at the present. "We have partnered with Maersk alone and are awaiting the report on the shipment," an APEDA official said.
Maersk with 5 per cent of its total India volumes in agri-segment is looking to explore opportunities of growth in this area by maintaining consistency in its shipments.
“There is a lot of untapped potential in fresh produce exports out of India and our market share is one-third of total. Our plan is to have consistent exports of certain products to improve overall market share as well as the volumes,” said Steve Felder, managing director, Maersk South Asia.
Noting the lack of temperature controlled infrastructure, Maersk has also started renting out its containers. The firm also provides end-to-end services for agri product exports, .
“Customers are paying a monthly fee and we maintain the containers. It is an area where customers have responded very well. So we will continue to focus on this segment as well apart from shipment via temperature controlled containers,” said Felder.
While the investment figures were not revealed the company said it has invested not just in improving the container technology but also on research and development.
“Other government agencies such as the Spice Board are also taking similar steps to up exports of its products,” said APEDA official. APEDA has already sounded off all the 29 states regarding the agri export plan to which 22 states have responded.