The 5th edition of Refcold India, South Asia’s largest exhibition and conference on refrigeration and cold chain industry solutions, commenced at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on 8 December 2022 .
Refcold India is an initiative of The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), which has over 46 chapters and nearly 30,000 professional members in India, and is also launching international chapters in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Abu Dhabi. Refcold India has brought together all sections of the refrigeration and cold chain industry and is the only exhibition focusing on industrial refrigeration along with the cold chain and reefer transportation.
The Refrigeration and Cold Chain industry is growing at a fast rate due to the shift in focus from increasing production to better storage to reduce the wastage of agricultural produce and other perishable products. India is home to the largest cold storage capacity in the world, with 8200 cold storage and 36 million tonne capacity, but the current infrastructure is not enough.
"Refrigeration and cold chain occupy a very important space in our day-to-day lives and various industries such as healthcare, agriculture, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and many more. It is estimated that 69 million tonnes of food, worth Rs. 92,000 crores is wasted in India each year. The refrigeration and cold chain industry can play an important role in preventing wastage and ensuring food security,” said NS Chandrasekar, national president, ISHRAE.
“Refcold India is going to be a wonderful learning and networking experience for everyone. A large number of exhibitors from different sectors are taking part and showcasing some of the latest technologies and innovations in the refrigeration and cold chain industry. There are also several insightful seminars with national and international speakers during the next three days,” said Pankaj Dharkar, chairman, Refcold India.
The global cold chain market is expected to grow from $4.4 billion in 2020 to $13.8 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 15.8%. The Indian cold chain market is expected to more than double from Rs. 1.28 lakh crore in 2022 to Rs. 2.86 lakh crore in 2027, a CAGR of 14.3%.
Asheesh Fotedar, chief operating officer, National Centre for Cold-chain Development, said, “Growth in the cold chain sector needs to be accelerated and propelled in the right direction with the purpose of reaching and connecting the last mile. The development of cold chain infrastructure is a must to facilitate farmers and ensure their product reaches the markets and enhances their income levels. We will be conducting studies to identify the gaps in cold chain infrastructure and drive its growth.”
In his address, RS Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), said, “The refrigeration and cold chain industry is making an immense contribution to the rural economy. Amul and the dairy industry owe their existence and growth to refrigeration and cold chain solutions. For the dairy sector, refrigeration and energy cost is very big. The refrigeration industry should look at ways to make energy-efficient refrigeration systems. There is also a need to make environment-friendly solutions.”
This event also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between ISHRAE and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). It is a significant development that Indian society has joined hands with UNEP for the betterment of the environment.
UNEP will also conduct a seminar on ‘Sustainable Cold Chain, Towards Food Security and Climate Mitigation. There are also various seminars on heat pumps, thermal storage technologies, dairy and fire safety, and other relevant subjects.
The exhibition has attracted more than 120 exhibitors from not just India, Italy, USA, Denmark, Germany, and other countries, who are showcasing the best products in refrigeration and cold chain sectors. More than 10,000 visitors from food manufacturing & supply, meat and dairy, frozen and chilled foods, wholesale distribution & retail, reefer transportation, pharma & healthcare, ports, shipping companies, and other sectors are expected to visit Refcold India.
India presently has 8,200 cold storage in the country having a total capacity of 36 MMT making India the largest cold storage capacity in the world. It must be noted however that India still has a long way to go, as we have 10,000 pack houses against the total requirement of 69,000 Nos, 10,000 Reefer vehicles against the total requirement of 60,000 Reefer vehicles, Ripening Chambers for fruits only 1000 Nos whereas the total requirement is at 9000 Nos. Refcold aims to bridge this gap and contribute towards the vision of the Prime Minister of doubling farmers' income.
ISHRAE has been actively working towards the growth of the refrigeration and cold chain industry to bring the best technology solutions and enhance the sector's growth. Refcold India will bring together Indian and international refrigeration industry stakeholders, and usher in innovation in technology that works on eliminating food wastage. Cold Chain management has become an integral part of the supply chain industry comprising refrigerated storage and refrigerated transportation.