Celcius’ path to making cold chain supply efficient in India
From facilitating vaccine delivery, curbing food wastage, empowering regional transporters to building a last-mile delivery network, this is how Mumbai-based Celcius Logistics is solving cold-chain supply in India.
Monday May 01, 2023,
4 min Read
During the height of the pandemic in November 2020, Swarup Bose, Rajneesh Raman, and Arbind Jain got together to set upLogistics —a firm looking to improve cold-chain infrastructure in India.
It has crossed several milestones since then, with the most recent being raising Rs 100 crore in its Series A funding round led by, and has secured a bast clientele which includes the likes of includes , , Maersk, Prabhat Dairy, Baskin Robbins, Vadilal, Domino’s, Keventers, and Godrej Agro among others.
It is now looking at expanding the business. “Having raised more funds, we aim to further expand our operations and build a seamless, and truly unbroken cold supply chain, ensuring food security for all,” Swarup Bose, Founder and CEO, Celcius says.
It plans to expand all its offerings from current segments hyperlocal deliveries, to last mile deliveries.
Till date, Celcius has transported over 125,000 tons of perishable cargo for sectors like dairy, fresh agricultural produce, pharma, fruits, seafood, and vaccines across over 350 cities in India.
Building a thriving cold-chain solution
There is no doubt that cold-chain logistics continues to be a tough sector to crack. In India, the system is riddled with a number of inefficiencies and accounts for a large chunk of food waste till date.
In August 2022, Celcius launched its smart last mile delivery platform that addresses the most pertinent pain points in India’s fragile cold supply chain. The brand also partnered with vehicle owners and automotive manufacturers to create a network of reefer or refrigerated vehicles—integrated with its Inventory Management System (IMS).
This IMS is specficially built for the cold supply. Akin to a regular inventory management, it is equipped with entire temperature management, humidity management, the shelf life management features.
In its current form, Celsius’ last mile service has expanded to over 200 partner vehicles across 11 cities, covering dark stores, retail, D2C (direct to consumer) deliveries for sectors like ecommerce, pharma, frozen commodities, fresh produce and other perishable sectors
Its latest hyperlocal delivery service—In October 2022—was designed to deploy tech-first solutions to reduce the massive in-transit wastage of perishables caused by cold chain malpractices and inefficiencies while ensuring speed, quality, and agility to transport volumes ranging 500 gms to 50 kg through bike riders and larger reefer trucks for bigger volumes.
Since trialling the service in Kolkata, it has expanded to a few more cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune with more than 100 riders.
It has also secured contracts for distribution from cloud kitchen clients including Zomato for its hyperlocal delivery platform.
Building out the vision
In terms of growth, over the last year alone, the Mumbai-based startup claims to have grown 20X.
“We are just about touching 100 Cr ARR in the topline and aiming to grow at 3X and achieve the target of 300 Cr ARR by next year,” says Bose, adding that its existing verticals will help it achieve this scale.
Celcius’s tech-enabled last-mile delivery service also focuses on the aggregation of existing small reefer vehicles and leverages Celcius’s unique Vahaan Vikas Yojana to introduce new assets in the sector, creating opportunities for smaller transporters across India.
“With the Vahan Vikas Yojana Scheme, we aim to build a reefer trucks network, as part of our larger mission to build an unbroken cold supply chain in the country,” he adds.
Vahaan Vikas Yojana is a corporate initiative that helps new entrants, including the asset owners for transport or warehouse, to enter the cold supply chain sector. This initiative enables penetration into newer markets quickly.
With over 25 direct Annual Contracts with companies and over 107 cold storage, Celcius has built a strong network to ensure ongoing business to its Vahan Vikas programme.
It has also partnered with several leading OEMs like Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, Mahindra on a national level, for an assured and exclusive competitive rate over the MRP, further benefiting this initiative.
On its Vahan Vikas Samriddhi programme, Celcius helps financially support aspiring regional entrepreneurs in the transportation.
Vahan Vikas Samriddhi is an extension of Vahan Vikas Yojana. Businesses can enroll by registering on the platform and uploading their KYC credentials. From there on, STFC will assist them with funds while Celcius will streamline the process of securing RTO-registered vehicles as per their requirements.
The startup has also ventured across the border, to enable the traders with the export and imports of products like exotic fruits and seafood—from regions like Nepal and Afghanistan to be distributed to India and vice-versa..
“So it's still at a very nascent stage,” says Bose, adding that this feature is still under progress.
“Our goal is to work towards a sustainable future, by taking steps to reduce the wastage of perishables through innovative tech solutions and create a meaningful impact on the ecosystem,” Swarup says.