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BW Businessworld

CV Makers Renew Focus on Refrigerated Transportation Segment

With the mass inoculation drive requiring efficiently refrigerated transportation, the manufacturers of Commercial Vehicles (CV) have renewed their focus on this segment. The National Centre for Cold-chain Development says India needs 30,000 new pack-houses with pre-cooling facilities and 60,000 refrigerated trucks

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Sensing big opportunities in vaccine transportation, a number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like Daimler India, Tata Motors, VECV, and Omega Mobility among others, are renewing their focus on the specialized refrigerated transportation vehicles space.  

Before the pandemic, the demand for refrigerated transport vehicles stood in the vicinity of 2,000-3,000 units per year. Post pandemic, the numbers are expected to drive up rapidly as the world’s biggest vaccination drive for every age group speeds up. 

Daimler Indian Commercial Vehicles (DICV) and Motherson Sumi have launched a customized refrigerated truck to transport these vaccines that require specific temperature control – often several degrees below freezing point – for the entire duration of the vaccine transportation. While the 28-tonne BharatBenz truck is made by the Chennai-based truck and bus maker, the refrigerated container mounted on it is developed by the Motherson Sumi Group, India’s largest auto component maker.  

Satyakam Arya, Managing Director, and CEO, DICV told BW Businessworld during a video interaction recently, “India should be the biggest markets for Refrigerated Transportation. Due to incremental demand coming from the vaccine, we need to add about 10,000-12,000 trucks in the next one to two years. We are in a strong position to cater to that demand.”  

Tata Motors has also announced that it has rolled out a new range of refrigerated vehicles, which have been designed and engineered as per the temperature, volume, and weight requirements. India’s largest CV maker has maintained that the vehicles are available in a variety of capacities and tonnage points to suit the diverse needs. It has also come up with insulated vaccine vans in the Small Commercial Vehicle (SCV) and Pick-up (PU) segment to facilitate last-mile and for rural transportation of vaccines.  

Industry analysts also reckon that surging demand for frozen food items at both unorganized as well as organized retail stores such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, and quick service the restaurant are expected to drive the market a faster growth rate over the course of next five years.  

According to Pawanexh Kohli, former chief executive of India's National Centre for Cold-chain Development, the country needs to develop 30,000 new pack-houses with pre-cooling facilities and 60,000 refrigerated trucks as per the demand of the country. Kavan Mukhtyar from PWC is also of the firm view that the Refrigerated truck market is likely to expect a boom over the next 12-18 months due to the Covid vaccination drive and this segment will also see long-term growth as increasing efficiency of food logistics is a policy priority.  

“India’s leading supermarket chains including Reliance, Ranger Farms, Bharti, ITC, Food World, and Spencer are expanding their number of stores across India, which will further increase the demand for reefer trucks to make the perishable & temperature-sensitive food available to the target points. Furthermore, due to COVID-19 the transportation of medicines, plasma, vaccines & other pharmaceutical products via refrigerated trucks increased at comparatively superior growth rates which helped the industry in growing,” reveals Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research.  


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