Saving the crops with reefer logistics

Deep Khira

The production of agriculture is boasting, as is the demand. India is a significant contributor, and we face a challenge where the produce is inefficiently utilised due to deficient cold chain infrastructure. Deep Khira, CEO of Sub Zero Insulation Technologies Pvt. Ltd., advocates for a transformative approach to this issue in the given feature. 

How can India improve its cold chain infrastructure amidst growing demand for reefer logistics and e-commerce expansion?

India is the largest milk producer and the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables. A huge amount of this produce goes to waste due to insufficient end-to-end cold chain infrastructure. Businesses must fill these gaps, and India requires efficient end-to-end cold chain infrastructure. To achieve these objectives, end customers must understand, appreciate, and accept the cost involved. We are seeing our reefer logistics customers grow year after year by adding more trucks to their fleet. There is still an opportunity for e-commerce and online grocery to pick up with the pace. 

How can truck manufacturers improve vehicle efficiency and refrigeration technology to ensure food safety and preservation?

Truck manufacturers have been offering state-of-the-art vehicles that are efficient and focus on driver comfort since the introduction of BS6 norms, enabling drivers to cover farther distances without fatigue. Sub Zero is also constantly innovating and improving the thermal performance of our reefer boxes so that these perishable goods can remain fresh for extended periods. Monitoring temperature data is the most important to ensure food safety and end-to-end temperature preservation.

Please suggest innovations to address the logistical needs of e-commerce businesses.

Refrigerated trucks with multiple temperature zones in the same vehicle are required for e-commerce businesses. We at Sub Zero offer these vehicles. Frozen food items like ice cream and meat can be transported along with chilled products like milk, cheese, vegetables, and dry cargo, all in one vehicle.

How can we strengthen the logistics business in India?

Reviewing or increasing the end product price can strengthen logistics in India. This delta in product price will allow logistics players to invest more in their businesses and provide higher-quality services to their customers. In turn, waste would be reduced, and food product quality would improve. Many logistics companies are cutting corners and compromising on reefer truck procurement, maintenance, and operations due to wafer-thin margins at the current time.

How can material handling systems streamline logistics and provide last-mile delivery?

The industry needs to shift to palletisation as much as possible. The shift eliminates reliance on manual labour to load and unload reefer trucks. All trucks can be furnished with a tail lift, and material handling can be done using a forklift or hand pallet truck. The process will bring standardisation in the sizes of reefer trucks on the market, cold storage shelving, design, etc. Electric vehicles are paving the way with electrically operated refrigeration systems for the last mile, reducing reliance on fuel and lowering emissions.

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