Cold Chain

Cold Chain Logistics in India

Imagine biting into a fresh, juicy mango in the middle of winter. Ever wondered how that's possible? The answer lies in the magic of cold storage logistics. As the backbone of Indian logistics, cold storage plays a pivotal role in ensuring the year-round availability of perishable goods. But like any rapidly growing industry, it faces its own set of challenges.

Current State


Number of Cold Storages: Approx. 7,129
Total Storage Capacity: About 34 million metric tonnes
Refrigerated Vehicles: Around 30,000

Market Size

Current Value:  $9.75 billion
CAGR: Expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.67% by 2028

Commodities Handled

Pharmaceuticals: 25%
Agricultural Produce: 35%
Dairy Products: 20%
Others (Meat, Fish, etc.): 20%

The Driving Forces: Perishables and Pharmaceuticals

As the world's largest producer of milk and the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, India has no shortage of perishable goods. Factor in a significant amount of seafood, meat, and poultry, and you've got a transporter service with a lot on its plate—literally. But the truckers company networks are not yet fully equipped to handle this bounty. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, we lose approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food annually, a devastating one-third of the total food production. In monetary terms, these losses range between $8 billion and $15 billion each year.

Pharmaceuticals are another game-changer. Imagine a life-saving drug being useless because it wasn't stored or transported under the right conditions. That's where a robust and well-managed cold supply chain network comes in. With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping for medicines, pharmaceuticals are becoming a significant piece of the cold chain logistics puzzle.

The Pharmaceutical Angle: COVID-19's Call to Action

Before the pandemic, the pharmaceutical sector constituted 25% of the commodities handled by cold chain logistics. But when COVID-19 struck, this became the sector's defining moment. As the race to vaccinate India’s 1.3 billion population began, cold chain logistics stood at the intersection of success and failure. Here’s a data snapshot:

Doses Administered: Over 2.2 Billion

Wastage Rates: Reduced to 10%

New Cold Storage Points: 27k+ facilities set up exclusively for vaccine storage

The government and logistics companies collaborated like never before, employing technologies for real-time tracking, ensuring the efficacy of temperature-sensitive vaccines. The result? Wastage rates were at an all-time low.


High Operational Costs: Cold chain logistics in India incur a 20-30% higher operational cost compared to standard logistics.

Energy Inefficiency: The sector relies heavily on diesel generators, leading to high energy costs.

Limited Reach: Rural areas still lack comprehensive cold storage solutions, leading to localized spoilage.


Public-Private Partnerships

With an allocation of around $400 million from the government for the development of cold chain systems, public-private partnerships are on the rise. In the last two years alone, we've seen significant collaborations aimed at reducing the gaping infrastructural and technological deficits. These alliances are not only adding more cold storages but also modernizing them with data analytics and AI capabilities.

Technology Integration

Earlier, truckers companies used basic methods for route planning, scheduling, and tracking. Enter the era of trucker apps and online platforms. No longer are these platforms just a utility for tracking; they offer predictive analytics, efficient routing, and real-time monitoring. Apps like these are changing how transporter services operate, making them more than just a trucker’s utility. They are morphing into integrated logistics solutions.

The result is a highly optimized cold storage logistics system. With technology, companies can now make data-driven decisions to minimize losses, optimize routes, and improve overall efficiency. IoT and blockchain technology can provide real-time tracking and accountability, reducing the loss rate by up to 10%.


Expansion into new sectors like floriculture and aquaculture can increase the market size by an estimated $2 billion.

Cold chain logistics in India is a sector with immense potential. By overcoming existing challenges through technological integration, efficient energy use, and public-private partnerships, India could substantially reduce post-harvest losses and become a global leader in the cold chain logistics domain.