Bengaluru-based Snowman Logistics, an associate company of Gateway Distriparks Ltd, has embarked on an expansion plan and is looking to double capacity from 1.06 lakh pallets to 2 lakh pallets by 2021. The expansion was prompted by an expected rise in demand for frozen shrimp and frozen fish in the global markets. The company, a provider of cold chain logistics solutions in India, is also looking at tapping renewable energy to lower fuel and power tariffs, its CEO, Sunil Nair, told BusinessLine . Excerpts:

A number of logistics players are looking at tapping renewable energy to lower fuel and power tariffs. What are your plans?

We are evaluating newer solutions to utilise renewable energy such as solar and wind, mainly to provide cold-storage facilities and to address cost issues. We are in the process of installing solar panels on the rooftop of our warehouses. The first installation will come at our Krishnapatnam facility. The facility is 3,600-pallet position facility with value-added facilities for seafood export. Furthermore, in transportation, we are also working on eutectic technology, which works on power rather than diesel. We are also evaluating nitrogen as a refrigerant, which does not require diesel for cooling.

Is an evolved cold-chain infrastructure the answer to India’s food security problem?

Even though India is the second-largest producer of vegetables worldwide, its export shareis only about 1.3 per cent. With 35-40 per cent of agricultural produce being wasted due to lack of proper cold-chain facilities, it is important that a focussed effort is required on part of the government and industry leaders to encourage and communicate the use of cold chain to increase the shelf life of products. Instead of subsidising single-product storage facilities, the government should focus on multi-purpose facilities, primarily run by a third-party logistics company. This will ensure that every farmer or user gets a shared facility and ‘pay per use’. This will also ensure that the facility gets used during seasonal changes for other relevant purposes.

Is Snowman now looking at doubling capacity? Where do you see additional business

coming from?

We see demand coming in from frozen shrimp and frozen fish in global markets. In 2016-17, India exported 11,34,948 MT of seafood, raking in an all-time high of ₹37,870.90 crore, and this is expected to continue in the coming years. We have been facilitating these exports from Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Chennai and Mumbai. Further, our overall revenue share from pharmaceuticals has risen to 5 per cent from 1 per cent, and we have dedicated pharma facilities in Mumbai and Chennai.

How is Snowman’s exclusive tie-up with IKEA faring?

IKEA is an important part of our growth plan in India. We will be managing complete back-end for IKEA in-store restaurants – from inventory planning, ordering, vendor co-ordination primary logistics, warehouse management, order process from stores and having the required stocks delivered to the stores. This will also include compliance throughout the distribution network, quality inspection and ensure product integrity. The first store is expected to be operational by June. The IKEA in-store restaurants will be one of the largest in the world with about 1,000 seats and will serve Indian and Swedish food.