“Indian Govt initiatives help to drive growth”
APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia’s container services division, provides extensive and specialized, dry as well as refrigerated container services with a presence in Chennai, Dadri, Panvel, Pipavav, Tuticorin and a recently commissioned reefer services facility in Dighode, Nhava Sheva. The incorrect loading of refrigerated cargo into a reefer container or an error in temperature setting can prove disastrous for the consignment, informs Ajit Venkataraman, Managing Director, APM Terminals India Pvt Ltd in an interaction with Supriya Oundhakar...
Please take us through your reefer business program.
APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia’s container services division, provides extensive and specialized, dry as well as refrigerated container services with a presence in Chennai, Dadri, Panvel, Pipavav, Tuticorin and a recently commissioned reefer services facility in Dighode, Nhava Sheva.
Unlike the dry container business, refrigerated container operations are far more complex. The sensitive nature of refrigerated cargo demands in-depth technical knowledge and expertise. Our refrigerated container services program is designed around customers’ needs and delivers end-to-end solutions including storage, repairs and maintenance, pre-trip inspection and malfunction resolution.
How has the reefer business evolved over the years in India?
The business in India has evolved to a more professionally organized marketplace and there are three clear trends:
First, refrigerated imports have significantly grown. The scenario has transformed from a traditionally strong export market to a considerably large import market as well, thanks to the expanding demands of the Indian consumer.
Secondly, the business now reaches farther inland. With infrastructure and industry development, more and varied commodities from the Indian hinterland are now being exported. For example, grape exports from Nashik have witnessed a 180% growth.
Third, the refrigerated container business has expanded from handling primarily agricultural produce to a much wider product basket, including pharmaceuticals, confectionaries, horticulture, chemicals and meat among others.
According to you, what are the key growth drivers for the reefer segment?
The growth of sectors requiring temperature control and sensitive cargo such as agriculture, horticulture, poultry, seafood and pharmaceuticals, directly impact this segment. Increased disposable income, and exposure to global food products have impacted consumption patterns. This has led to emergence of an increasingly organized and expanding retail and food processing industry. The availability of necessary infrastructure in transportation and world-class cold storage capabilities are critical drivers of India’s global reefer trade. Indian Government initiatives including various infrastructure-related subsidies and the establishment of a National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) also help to drive this growth.
What are the USPs of APM Terminals Inland Services when it comes to reefer services?
APM Terminals Inland Services offers best-in-market refrigerated container services of global standards. People, safety, infrastructure and transparency are the major USPs. Modern tools and container handling equipment, as well as integrated IT systems are deployed to deliver world-class services with speed and efficiency. The exclusive and specialized reefer services facility recently opened at Dighode is the first-of-its-kind in India. Safety is a paramount concern, and APM Terminals Inland Services conforms to our corporate global safety standards.
Our people are our biggest assets and we are driven by customer focus. International Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) qualified surveyors, Other Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) certified technicians, offer an ability to create customized solutions for our customers.
We offer transparency to our customers supported by well-established processes and systems.
All this combined, is what gives us credibility with customers and end users, and makes the real difference.
You have recently launched a new reefer services in Dighode, Mumbai. Please elaborate on the facilities offered at the facility.
A real need existed for dedicated refrigerated container solutions in India. The Dighode facility is a state-of-the-art facility capable of handling over 3,000 containers, and was established in close proximity to JNPT – the busiest port in India.
With storage, maintenance, heavy body repairs, machinery repairs, training, pre-trip inspections, cleaning of containers and managing software related issues, this facility is a one-stop shop for refrigerated container providers and users. The facility houses world-class diagnostic equipment, and a talent pool of IICLqualified surveyors and OEM certified technicians.
A 24X7 reefer technical assistance desk ensures we are just a call away for our customers in case of emergency.
What challenges do you face in maintenance and services of reefer containers? What actions have you initiated to tackle them?
The incorrect loading of refrigerated cargo into a reefer container or an error in temperature setting can prove disastrous for the consignment. We organize training programs for end users’ workforce at the loading site to develop skills pertaining to infrastructure requirements, the avoidance of ‘hot stuffing’, and optimum utilization of a refrigerated container.
Another concern is the availability of genuine spare parts for refrigerated containers. These are of high value and need to be imported, leading to long lead times. We have assumed dealerships of various genuine spare parts manufacturers including an exclusive dealership for Starcool in India. This helps us restore refrigerated containers to perfectly working condition in a very short time.
IF YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS OR FEEDBACK ON THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.