India has huge opportunity when we come to cold chain logistics. It is a highly fragmented industry and the unorganized sector accounts for an estimated 80-85% share of the total capacity. Wholesalers and organized retailers are the key user segments of cold chain services with a share of 70-75% and 10-15% respectively. Also, erratic power supplies, unavailability of skilled manpower, inefficient handling of perishables & availability of technology & financing options impact the industry adversely.

Indian Scenario

According to a 2015 study carried out by the National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD), India needs cold storage infrastructure of 35 Million Metric Tonne to take care of the needs of farm produce in the country. The National Center for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) has identified a gap of 3.2 Mn MT in cold storage capacity, more than 69,000 packhouses, more than 50,000 reefer vehicles, and a gap of around 8,000 ripening chambers in India.

India has seen phenomenal growth in horticulture, dairy, meat, agriculture, and the below table shows the average % wastage in the above sector

Sr.NoCategoryWastage %
1Fruits & Vegetable4.6- 15.9
2In Land Fish5.2
3Marine Fish10.5

*Data taken from a report published by yes bank on cold-chain opportunities in India.

India ranks 1st in Milk production,2nd in Fruits and vegetables,2nd in goat meat and fish but due to inefficiency in the cold supply chain, it costs the > 25 -30 Billion U$ in wastage.

Scenario during Covid-19

Demand for cold-storage is increased after the lockdown was Imposed. This has led to an additional cold storage space for new unsold food. Farmers, Food manufacturers & Pharmaceutical companies were finding it difficult to find commercial chiller and freezer spaces.

The situation leads to a cut in production activity and resulted in high levels of waste. The strain on logistics due to various government regulations in place due to ongoing pandemic has resulted in wastage and cost of transport as well.

A new trend in Cold Supply Chain:
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"By 2020, Indian Food and retail market is projected to touch $ 482 Bn, the Indian Dairy industry is expected to double to $ 140 Bn, the Food processing industry has the potential of attracting $ 33 Bn of investment and by 2030, Indian annual household consumption to treble, making India 5th largest consumer globally"

(Source: Opportunities in Food Processing In India, World Food India 2017)

The government of India through several ministries has given schematics support through the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), National Horticulture Board (NHB) and others. Similarly, numerous states under the ambit of their agriculture and industrial policies have charted out lucrative incentives for the development of cold chain infrastructure.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana: Cold Chain Scheme – Ministry of Food Processing Industries is providing huge impetus to develop infrastructure to increase efficiency and reduce wastage.

  • Financial assistance (grant-in-aid) under the scheme is limited to a maximum of INR 10 crore per project in relation to technical civil works and eligible plant & machinery subject to the following:
  • For storage infrastructure including Pack House and Pre-cooling unit, ripening chamber and transport infrastructure, grant-in-aid @ 35% for General Areas and @ 50% for North East States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas & Islands, of the total cost of plant & machinery and technical civil works will be provided.
  • For value addition and processing infrastructure including frozen storage/ deep freezers associated and integral to the processing, grant-in-aid @ 50% for General Areas and @ 75% for North East States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas & Islands, will be provided. • For irradiation facilities grant-in-aid will be provided @ 50% for General Areas and @ 75% for North East States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas & Islands.

Many more schemes are in place by various ministry to further provide funding and enhance the cold chain efficiency thereby reducing the wastage

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is allowed under automatic route in cold storage. External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) can be raised for the creation of cold storages, cold rooms including farm level pre-cooling for preservation or storage of agriculture/horticulture produce.

A holistic approach is being followed by various ministry and organizations to develop below the facility to improve the efficiency of the cold supply chain.

  • Procurement and Delivery Systems
  • Pre Cooling Facilities
  • Refrigerated Vehicles
  • Ripening Chambers
  • Cold/Controlled Atmosphere (CA)/Modified Atmosphere Stores
  • Refrigerated Retail Outlets
  • Information Systems and Traceability
Meat, Poultry, Fish Cold supply Chain a new beginning.

Indian cold supply chain has further seen increased demand for frozen food and the same being met with promising startup-like Licious, Zappfresh, TenderCuts, Hibachi, FreshtoHome.There has been a new trend whereby instead of preferring frozen meat the consumers are moving towards chilled meat which is stored at 0-4 Deg C and shelf life of 3-5 the meat retains its texture and microbes don’t grow. This has led to micro cold storage across the city to ensure 1-2 hrs of delivery of hygienic chilled meat ready for consumption.

In current times the online grocery market has increases manifold and the bigwigs like Amazon, BigBasket, Amul, Haldiram are in pursuit to set up their cold storage and cold supply chain across India.

The cold chain logistics in prepared to undergo a massive change that would add value to the current supply chain and reduce wastage thereby improving the overall consumption and export across India.

Contributed by GWcold Team

GWcold is a storage and supply chain solution platform by godamwale dedicated exclusively for the Cold supply chain. It provides end to end cold chain solutions (Storage, distribution, inter/intra city cold chain transport) across India for both short term and long term requirements.For queries on this article or any business needs contact on or log in to

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