Home Just In Cold chain industry transitioning towards tech-based approach

Cold chain industry transitioning towards tech-based approach


In an interaction with CIO AXIS, Rajneesh Raman, Co-Founder and COO, Celcius, shares how Celcius’ technology first approach helps overcome the challenges of the conventional cold-chain network in India, especially in terms of transporting the COVID-19 vaccine and other essential resources.

CIO AXIS: How has the Indian cold chain market evolved since the beginning of the pandemic up until the tail-end of 2021?

Rajneesh Raman: The Indian cold chain industry reached the value of INR 1425.49 Billion in 2020 and the global cold chain market is predicted to reach USD 628.26 billion by 2028. This exponential growth of the sector, coupled with the rise in the supply chain startup economy, has enabled the industry to meet the growing demands for its services at a faster rate as compared to 2020. The cold chain industry has widely adopted cold supply chain technology like AI-enabled data collection, IoT-based temperature control units, ML-based warehouse and transport management, thermal sensors and batteries, interconnected tracking systems and more. These advancements are nudging the cold chain industry towards the future of optimal and functional growth.

CIO AXIS: Are there any new set of challenges that have come up in the industry due to the pandemic?

Rajneesh Raman: One of the major challenges faced by the industry since the beginning of 2020 is the scarcity of cold chain infrastructure, particularly reefer trucks and warehouse storage facilities. The investment towards these facilities has increased considerably compared to last year, but they still fall short in meeting the growing market demands. A major contributing factor to this is the fragmented distribution approach of the cold supply chain industry. The lack of infrastructure calls for a more interconnected and networked supply chain, and establishing this nation-wide network is crucial to ensure that cold chain products have a wider reach.

CIO AXIS: How does Celcius face these challenges?

Rajneesh Raman: Celcius functions on the concept of building a nation-wide advanced and interconnected cold supply chain network. Our SaaS-based service aggregates data of the various cold chain entities like manufacturers, transporters, storage providers, and shippers and we assist them in collaborating with one another. Our mission is to utilize the existing infrastructure to expand the reach of cold chain products like vaccines, pharmaceutical drugs, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and seafood within the country. We have a rich database of over 200 clients and have a reach in over 116 cities across India. We have successfully transported over 11,000 tonnes of perishable cargo since our inception in December 2020. Our interconnected network ensures that every movement, temperature fluctuation, or en route mishap is accounted for and traceable. Our magnified use of cold chain technology like IoT and AI-based temperature control devices, reefer units with thermal sensors, and PCM (Phase Change Material), ensures that our processes remain efficient and effective.

CIO AXIS: How important is operational efficiency to the cold chain sector?

Rajneesh Raman: The cold chain sector relies on efficient backend operations; it is essentially the backbone of the industry. Even minor missteps could lead to deterioration of cold chain consignments, making it essential for cold chain service providers to invest in technologically adept operational systems that collect and store data regarding the shipment, transporters and vehicles assigned, temperature excursions, pressure changes within the reefer trucks, time taken to complete the journey, the route taken, en route mishaps, and more. The readily accessible data in cases of setbacks could enable cold chain service providers to trace the issue back to its root. Additionally, AI and ML technology could also help predict patterns and common inconsistencies that could be prevented in the future.

CIO AXIS: With the aid of technology, what advances do you foresee in the operational aspects of the cold chain sector?

Rajneesh Raman: The cold chain sector is headed towards a collaborative and interconnected future. This system will rely majorly on technology to streamline human-led efforts in data logging, monitoring and operational aspects of the sector. To enable this, a fully automated operations system that monitors most processes from storage, packaging, transport, product handling, and delivery seems to be the way forward. AI, machine learning, and IoT are going to play a key role in ironing out most, if not all, of the obstructions that could prevent the cold chain industry from functioning efficiently. This would allow the cold chain sector to shift its focus towards assisting the growth of sectors like unorganised perishable food industry and local vendors that could benefit from the services of industry.

CIO AXIS: Recently, a global phishing campaign has been uncovered, targeting organizations associated with a COVID-19 cold chain. What can be done to keep the cold chain safe from cybercriminals?

Rajneesh Raman: As the cold chain industry transitions towards a tech-based approach, doubling down on cybersecurity is indispensable. Emerging threat actors seem to target uncomplicated but crucial devices like temperature sensors, usually placed near walk-in freezers and reefer units. Hackers employ Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), which interferes with thermal sensors and their displays, rendering them dysfunctional. Using a sensor that is less susceptible to EMI, such as ones that employ a temperature sensor chip, would be the most ideal option. Most sensors also take readings at pre-sampling rates (for instance, it could record a reading every 10 minutes). However, it is essential to customise the sampling rates and to set them low, as that would give hackers limited data to tamper with. Most importantly, while data logging is crucial to the industry, restrictions on who can access the data have to be put in place to avoid the data being tampered with.

Recommended for You

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Close Read More

See Ads