This startup is aggregating cold-chain logistics and warehousing on a single online platform

Navi Mumbai-based startup Celcius offers an aggregator platform that connects shippers with cold-chain transportation and warehousing service providers.
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Amid the pandemic outbreak, India saw an increased demand for cold-chain logistics infrastructure. According to a recent report by Research and Markets, the Indian cold-chain market stood at Rs 1425.49 billion in 2020. In simple terms, cold-chain infrastructure includes temperature-controlled storage and logistics and supply chain services.

Navi Mumbai-based cold-chain marketplace startup Celcius, launched in November 2020, is working to strengthen the cold-chain infrastructure in India. Founded by Swarup Bose, Rajneesh Raman, and Arbind Jain, Celcius offers an aggregator platform that connects clients with cold-chain transportation and warehousing service providers

Image Credit: Celcius

Speaking to YourStory, Co-founder and CEO Swarup Bose, who has been working in the cold-chain segment for 19 years, says that the sector in India was mostly driven offline. 

The startup has been working in vaccine distribution across India. Apart from this, its target sectors include dairy, pharma, fresh food, and seafood.

“Earlier, there was no online presence where people in the cold-chain sector could connect with each other. That is when we decided to do something online and came up with a marketplace. Celcius is basically a marketplace where we connect shippers, transporters, and cold-chain storage companies,” he explains.

Illustration: YS Design

Connecting shippers with cold chain service providers  

Swarup explains that Celcius aggregates the transporters, especially small-sized transporters from Tier II and Tier III cities, and also helps them update their reefer vehicles. The startup is developing a connected network of shippers and transporters across the country.

“We update the vehicles of the transporters. We have them install IoT devices and thermal sensors to help us track the live temperature of the cargo,” he adds.

The company claims to have transported over 2,800 tonnes of perishable cargo such as frozen food and meat among others, covering more than 85 cities across India to date.  

“For vaccines, we have been mostly working in the last mile delivery where we distribute it to the hospitals,” Swarup says.

Speaking about its work in vaccine distribution, Celcius reveals that it works with Reliance for vaccine distribution in Reliance Hospitals. 

"We give vehicles to Reliance to pick up the vaccines from Serum Institute of India to transport it to their Chunabhatti warehouse. Again, we also provide the last-mile delivery service to carry the vaccines from the warehouse to the hospitals"

Explaining the operational model, Swarup says that shippers or client organisations need to submit queries about their product and Celcius connects them with the appropriate vehicle and storage providers suitable for their goods. 

Celcius has three apps for the shipper, transporter, and the driver to allow them to track the consignment and the temperature.

Image Credit: Celcius

Business and more

Celcius’ network currently includes 2000 reefer vehicles and 75 warehouses. Speaking about the onboarding process, Swarup explained that once the transporter or warehouse provider reaches out, the startup physically visits the site and checks the infrastructure, temperature, vehicles, and its compliances. 

Last month, the startup raised an undisclosed amount as seed funding in a round led by Mumbai-based Eaglewings Ventures Alliance Network (EVAN), Venture Capital & Private Equity firms MaGEHold, Keiretsu Forum, and other investors.

Celcius is currently working with several clients such as IB Group, Innovative Foods, and Godrej Agrovet. 

"We don’t charge anything from the shipper or transporter while onboarding them. We earn a small percentage as service charge from the trip which is booked and finalised. Currently,  our software services are free for both shippers and transporters," Swarup says.

According to a report by Expert Market Research, the Indian cold-chain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.3 percent to reach Rs 2,865 billion by 2026.

Speaking about future plans, Swarup says that a portion of the funding will be utilised to increase teams across India in 30 to 40 cities. He also added that the company will also help fund small-sized cold-chain companies in case they face a shortage of capital during operations.

The company's support to the ecosystem through its network could not have come at a better time, considering the demand for cold-chain is increasing across the country,

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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