Companies

Godrej Appliances expands vaccine cold-chain portfolio

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on February 09, 2021 Published on February 09, 2021

Plans to increase capacity, invest in mobile clinics

Godrej Appliances is expanding its portfolio of medical refrigerators and related equipment by adding ultra-low-temperature freezers, in a bid to strengthen its vaccine cold-chain infrastructure. While the company has increased its production capacity in medical refrigerators from 10,000 units per annum to over 35,000 now, it plans to increase its capacity in ultra-low-temperature freezers from the current 10,000 units per annum to over 30,000 units.

Global demand

The ramp-up is being done also keeping in mind that there would be requirements for these products globally, company officials said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Now, we are focussing on augmenting capacity of the ultra-low-temperature freezers, and also investing in mobile clinic delivery solutions,” said Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice-President, Godrej Appliances. The company piloted the mobile clinic delivery concept in Assam, and is now extrapolating the same for the Covid-19 vaccine immunisation programme, especially in the hinterlands.

“Today, nations worldwide are facing challenges in running effective Covid-19 vaccination programmes. Inadequate cold-chain equipment is one of the key challenges, which can lead to inefficacy of the vaccines and cost human health. With Godrej’s decades of expertise in refrigeration technology, the brand offers a range of advanced cold storage solutions for vaccines and life-saving supplies that can help governments across the world in their fight against Covid-19. Our latest offering of ultra-low-temperature freezers will help make India more ready for vaccines of the future as well,” said Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company, in a statement on Tuesday.

Vaccine-ready

Godrej Appliances is currently deploying vaccine refrigerators which maintain a precise temperature of 2-8°C to store the highly temperature-sensitive Covaxin and Covishield vaccines being administered in India, as part of the national tender it received in October 2020. Medical freezers which maintain -20°C are also being deployed for the diluents and ice packs needed for the last-mile delivery in the Covid vaccination drive.

“Now, with our newly launched range of advanced ultra-low-temperature freezers, which can provide a temperature of below -80°C, India will also have the storage solutions readily available for other Covid-19 vaccines being deployed across the world,” Nandi said.

These freezers are particularly suited to mRNA-based vaccines which are being deployed in other countries currently. Now, Godrej Appliances’ portfolio of medical equipment will also be able to handle the storage of the two new vaccines in India that are expected to be rolled out, Nandi added.

Currently, the medical refrigerators and equipment contribute roughly 5 per cent to Godrej Appliances’ overall revenue; this is expected to go up by 30-40 per cent in the current financial year, to contribute 7-8 per cent to the company’s revenue, he said.

Godrej & Boyce, through its business unit Godrej Appliances, has been partnering with the ongoing Covid vaccination drive in India through its locally manufactured medical refrigeration solutions.

Cold-chain infrastructure

The company is partnering with various stakeholders in strengthening the healthcare cold chain and aiming to assist in other potential vaccine roll-out challenges, such as through mobile clinics for last-mile vaccine deployment in remote areas, for the next phase of Covid-19 vaccine inoculation, Nandi said.

The price of Godrej’s medical refrigerators ranges from ₹60,000 to ₹4 lakh (for solar-powered devices), while that of the deep freezers ranges from ₹60,000 to ₹1.5 lakh. The market size of the medical refrigerator segment in India is pegged at ₹2,000-2,500 crore, Nandi said.

Godrej Appliances is also receiving orders for its medical products from neighbouring countries such as Maldives and Nepal.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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