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UP leads in cold chain warehouse capacity in India

State accounts for 41% total capacity

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

With cold chain warehousing capacity of over 14 million tonnes (MT), Uttar Pradesh corners the highest share of 41% in India's total capacity of about 35 MT.

West Bengal ranks second with share of about 23%, followed by Punjab (5.5%), Gujarat (5.2%), Bihar (4.7%), Andhra Pradesh (3.7%), Madhya Pradesh (3.3%), Maharashtra (2.2%) and Karnataka (1.7%).

This has been revealed today in a study titled 'Opportunities in Cold Chain: Emerging Trends & Market Challenges' jointly conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and consultancy firm TechSci Research.

"Uneven distribution of storage capacity, lack of logistical support, highly segregated cold storage location and need for high capital investment are major hurdles for the cold chain industry in India," ASSOCHAM secretary general D S Rawat said releasing the study.

Utilisation of obsolete refrigeration system in cold stores is still prevalent as most units lack technologically sound refrigeration; directly impacts profit margins.

According to study, majority of cold stores are running on slow speed compressors based on ammonia refrigeration system, which lack capacity control mechanism due to which their energy efficiency is low. Besides, they are losing precious space as installation of these compressors requires bunker style evaporator coils or other diffuser units.

There is an urgent need to establish multi-purpose cold storages across India as about 75% of the current capacity is suitable only for potato storage and only 23% is meant for multi-purpose.

Interestingly, potato storage contributes only 20% to the total revenue of cold chain storage due to lower rent, while over 54% of revenue come from multi-purpose storage.

Most cold chain infrastructure in India was developed in 1960s, primarily for potato and potato seeds. The study claimed 30-40% of India's horticultural produce gets wasted due to lack of cold chain infrastructure.

Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26%, the market value of Indian temperature controlled warehouse industry is likely to cross Rs 6,00,000 crore mark by 2017.

Besides, the total cold chain storage capacity in India is likely to grow at CAGR of 13% to reach 47 MT by 2017.

Growth in organised retail, pharmaceutical, processed food, shift towards horticulture together with initiatives at government level are driving the growth of cold chain industry in India.

India accounts for 11% of global vegetable production, but cold chain capacity is available for merely 9 MT of vegetables. This leads to their massive wastage worth Rs 35,000 crore and severely impacts India's share in global horticulture exports, which is measly 2%.

Of about 85 MT of vegetables and 45 MT of fruits being produced in India, only 4 MT of fruits and vegetables are transported in refrigerated vehicles.

India produces 130 MT of milk, but we only have milk storage capacity of about 80,000 tonnes. Besides, about 30% of about 10 MT of fish produced in India gets wasted.

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First Published: Fri, July 04 2014. 16:18 IST