Project Description

Background

IG International (IG) is one of the largest importers of fresh fruits in India for the past 50 years. Over the past 5 decades, IG has built a robust global sourcing network with top fruit growers around the world. It has a strong focus on developing its infrastructure for procuring, handling and storing fresh fruits. IG operates the largest distribution and wholesale network of imported fresh fruits in India, and handles approximately 80,000 MT annually.

Beyond imports, other activities in IG’s portfolio include temperature-controlled warehousing and third-party logistics. It owns cold storages in Amravati, Theog, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai and a fleet of around 100 reefer trucks and trailers. IG moves around 40,000 MT of fresh fruits annually in India.

The Challenges

Fruits are the biggest reefer import commodity in India. Major consumption centres are the metros, with Mumbai being the largest market. Hence, fruits are imported into Mumbai to give importers like IG the flexibility to feed selected hinterland markets based on demand and supply.

After the fruits are imported into Mumbai, they are cleared at a Container Freight Station (CFS) and transported by road to the hinterland markets. Road freight is more expensive, more challenging logistically and has a heavier carbon footprint as compared to rail.

IG has been relentlessly looking at ways to move the cargo by rail for more than a decade.

The Solution

IG, PSA Cargo Solutions India (PSA Cargo Solutions) and Concor – a rail operator – co-created an intermediate solution to enable this modal shift from road to rail. After Customs clearance at the CFS, the reefers will be sent to the rail terminal, located within PSA Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (PSA Mumbai), for domestic rail movement. They will then be loaded onto the train by PSA Cargo Solutions for onward movement to other metros like Bengaluru.

fresh fruits at the supermarket

Conclusion

The first block train, loaded with 44 FEU of fresh fruit imports, ran from PSA Mumbai and arrived at Concor’s Inland Container Depot (ICD) Whitefield Terminal in Bengaluru within 35 hours, much quicker than the typical truck journey of 3 to 4 days. Following the success of this solution, further block trains have been rolled out. PSA Cargo Solutions and IG are also exploring the possibility of replicating this solution to other markets such as Delhi.

Because of the modal shift from road to rail, IG has achieved significant cost and time savings, as well as a marked reduction in their carbon footprint. The solution also enabled them to realise their decade-long vision of moving their fresh produce by rail.

The solution has also helped shipping lines reduce the costs of repositioning the reefers from Mumbai to the larger export markets – costs they would have to incur should the fruits be moved via trucks.

PSA Cargo Solutions has also facilitated the direct loading of reefers from the trailers to train, eliminating the need for them to be offloaded to the yard and having to be plugged in to reefer points. By deploying all 45 trailers simultaneously, PSA Cargo Solutions ensured minimal waiting time at the rail terminal and reduced further costs for IG.

“We would like to extend our special thanks to PSA Cargo Solutions for helping us realise our decade-long vision of moving our fresh produce by rail. What everyone said was impossible was made possible with your dedication, innovative solution and hard work. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with PSA Cargo Solutions.”

– Tarun Arora, Director at IG International Group

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