Cold Chain Sector in India

Posted By Team MCG On

The Indian cold chain sector is driven by the increasing demand for perishable products from urban areas as well as the overall need to reduce wastage of agricultural produce and other perishable products. Despite holding significant position in global production of dairy products, fruits & vegetables, food grains and fish, India’s contribution to global food market is merely around 1%. The required cold storage capacity in India is more than 60 million tonnes. Recognised as a sunrise sector in India, cold storage sector has been accorded infrastructure status in the Union Budget for 2011-12.

Cold chain sector in India mainly caters to agriculture and its allied sectors as well as pharmaceutical products, mainly vaccines. Indian cold chain sector was valued at INR 180 billion in 2012-13 and broadly comprises surface storage and refrigerated transportation. Surface cold storage, accounting for 90-95% of the overall cold chain sector, is further classified into bulk cold storage, multipurpose cold storage, small cold storages with pre-cooling facilities, frozen food stores, controlled atmosphere storages and ripening chambers. Refrigerated transportation in India, accounting for a small share, is still in its nascent stage in the country.

Over 65% of the country’s cold storage capacity is concentrated in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The capacity across several other states is limited and needs to be ramped up through adequate investments in cold chain technology. Factors like high capital investment and energy costs, uncertain power conditions, rising land prices, lack of indigenous technology, lack of skilled manpower and problems in refrigerated transport are main concerns in this sector. The lag in the cold storage capacities of key produce in agriculture & allied sector including milk, vegetables, meat and fish also need to be addressed at the earliest.

Cold storage capacity for key agricultural & allied sector produces in India, 2011-12


Rising demand along with the government incentives make the cold chain sector in India attractive for private participation and several multinational players have now entered the market through direct subsidiaries or through partnerships with domestic companies. The Government has spent around INR 5.5 billion during 2008-11 on subsidies and tax incentives to step up the cold storage capacity. Some key players in cold chain services are Delhi Cold Storage, Fresh and Healthy Enterprises, MJ Logistics Services Ltd., Radhakrishna Foodland Ltd., Snowman Logistics, Salva Food and Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd. Some leading players in supplying cold chain technology/equipment are Alfa Laval (India) Ltd., Bluestar, Carrier, Danfoss Industries, Dupont, Emerson Climate Technologies, Frick India, Ingersoll Rand (USA), Lamilux, Metaflex Doors India Pvt. Ltd, Parker Hannifin, Rinac, Schaefer Systems International Pvt. Ltd, Tolsma Storage Technology and Walco Engineering.