Innovations in the Cold Chain Solutions Sector

Cold Chain is rising as one of the emerging industries that can really contribute to the massive growth of Indian economy. While the industry has been there for some time, due to its niche category, it hasn’t been able to get the due attention it deserves. A lot has changed in the last couple of years.

With more and more Cold Chain companies now bridging the knowledge gap, the Indian Cold Chain industry is establishing an identity for itself and contributing a significant role in the Indian economy. The concept of Cold Chain has been re-defined from merely a method for cooling or agro-processing in the past, to one that integrates through procedures.

Limited to only preserving potatoes back in 1950s, to offering customized solutions currently, for today’s growing modern businesses that can leverage the benefits of Cold storage in the best possible manner, the Cold Chain industry is seeing a continuous development. Not only this but new technologies being used in the Cold Chain industry have started getting a lot of admission from associated sectors like diary, pharma, vegetables, meat etc. for better procurement of products.

While much has been changing from adapting technologies like Phase Change Material (PCM) to further strengthen the Cold Chain storage, there is a lot that still needs to be changed, especially a perspective towards the industry.

Emerging businesses are proving to be a life saviour for traditional businesses that are still relying on refrigerated trucks for moving products from one place to another. The demand is further heightened by pharma logistics, playing a key role in the Cold Chain space. While new entrants in the Cold Chain space are gaining an in-depth understanding of the industry, to not just survive but rather thrive in the coming times, it’s the old players that need to match the pace so to grow as an industry as a whole.

Businesses like grocery and quick commerce too are aiding in the growth of the sector and many are leveraging technology like PCM which is proving to be helpful for the Cold Chain industry. Besides large-scale enterprises and retailers, small vendors too are getting encouraged to use the technology in order to increase their sales and gain customer’s trust.

Solutions based on Phase Change Technology (PCM) or “thermal batteries” use customized chemicals with specific freezing and melting points (ranging from +18oC for use in chocolates to – 25o for use in ice creams). In comparison to previously used glycols, these materials are designed to be non-toxic and non- flammable – and therefore apt to be packed alongside food products. The proliferation of dark stores is also emerging as one sustainable option for Cold storages.

What’s standing out for PCM is that unlike previous options of gel packs and dry ice, these solutions are offering very accurate temperature control thereby, proving to be more effective. Not only this, but by making it more efficient, different temperatures can be maintained, in the same box, by using different PCM packs or cartridges depending upon the product or location to be delivered at. This further reduces the reliability on dedicated assets like reefer trucks which come with limited advantages and a higher cost.

Seeing from an economics perspective, the capital expenditure and operational expenditure also gets reduces by upto 50% compared to a refrigerated truck. Also, the cost gets limited as one pays for what one uses, and not the whole vehicle.  These solutions suit models of e-commerce vendors very well and give them an edge over the traditional cold chain players while ensuring a cost-effective delivery to the customer, every time.

This also boosts the confidence of retailers as well as small business men who are constantly looking out for cost-effective solutions that can help them store products in a better and easy manner. These solutions are virtually maintenance free and since the bag or box, in which they are placed does not contain any moving parts, the chances of product getting damaged becomes almost nil.

While the functioning of Cold Chain business has enhanced, in today’s time, what is more important to see that there are other innovations which are expected in the coming times that can drive the Cold Chain industry in altogether new directions.

As the space witnesses unprecedented growth, it’s evident that embracing new technologies and innovation will be the way forward for the Cold Chain industry to thrive in the coming times, thereby contributing a larger role in the growth of Indian economy.

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