Innovative solutions for last-mile transportation of perishable cargo

Swarup Bose, Founder and CEO, Celcius

The government has been providing subsidies to promote the growth of the cold chain sector and it is important now, more than ever, for our country to have an efficient cold chain system. We encourage aspiring startups and dry logistics entities to enter this segment-Swarup Bose, Founder and CEO, Celcius

What are your best-known solutions/products/services?

Celcius is a cold chain solution platform providing the complete array of cold chain services. Having a presence across India, we aggregate assets from the entire country for maximum utilization of the scarce cold chain resources. From transporters, cold chain storages, to last mile delivery, Celcius has a presence in each segment of the industry. Our software platform allows shippers, transporters and cold storage owners to coordinate in real-time, book assets, make payments and track and monitor their consignments.

Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?

We have customers across the dairy, pharmaceuticals, frozen goods, fruits, vegetables, and seafood and meat industries. Out of these, there is a considerable scope for growth in the fruits and vegetables segment. This sector still largely depends on non-temperature controlled vehicles for transportation of their commodities and this generates large amounts of waste.

What are your most recent product innovations?

We recently launched an Android application for drivers. The app enables drivers to have access to the live location of loading and unloading. It is linked directly to our main system, where we book and execute the entire trip from start to finish. Through this app, the drivers can also report the status of their trip. For instance, once they unload the vehicle, they can upload POD (Proof of Delivery) directly to our system. Processes like driver trip settlement and payment of expenses can also be carried out seamlessly. The app is presently available in English but we are developing a counterpart in Hindi and we will also add other regional languages in the future.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

In recent times, a major challenge in the industry has been Covid vaccine storage and distribution. The industry, in general, is also quite fragmented and lacks collaboration between transporters, shippers and suppliers. There are other hurdles such as monitoring the shipment and the vehicle in transit and keeping a record of all the data. We were able to face these challenges by integrating technology with the cold chain processes. Through our SaaS based platform, we can help the various entities involved in the cold chain process collaborate seamlessly.

We also make use of IoT and thermal mapping technologies to monitor the conditions of the shipment. This way, we were able to streamline the cold chain process right from the storage to the point of administration of the vaccines.

What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

Our strategy for success has been quite simple; innovation and service with hard work and patience. With this strategy, we have developed an ecosystem that ensures that 99% of our deliveries are on time. We account for the transportation of perishable cargo throughout the transit and our response time is limited to 2 hours in case of breakdowns. All of this translates into an end-to-end solution and better user experience. We believe that this is the driving force behind our success.

What’s the latest news from your company?

Celcius recently completed a round of seed investment. With new investors like Mumbai Angels, and VC firms like LUMIN Partners and Huddle joining us, we are looking forward to an explosive growth period.

With the guidance of these veterans, we have started expanding our team and we plan on deploying them across 15 cities in the next 5 months. Our hiring process has been well received and we are excited to welcome a new generation of team members amongst us.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

We are always on the lookout for innovative solutions for last-mile transportation of perishable cargo. Recently, we have experimented with multi-temperature last-mile delivery vehicles. According to us, this will be the future of perishable cargo distribution. We are also looking into EV reefers and are in talks with a few solution providers for the same. This will decrease the overall cost of the cold chain process, and it is also a green initiative, which should be the way forward.

Could you please share your views on the Cold Chain Sector for our readers?

The government has been providing subsidies to promote the growth of the cold chain sector and it is important now, more than ever, for our country to have an efficient cold chain system. We encourage aspiring startups and dry logistics entities to enter this segment.

Celcius can help them from the early stages by getting the existing players in the industry to collaborate with them. In the coming years, we hope to witness a colossal growth in the cold chain segment. This growth can help make cold chain products more affordable and reduce the amount of waste generated by the sector.

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