More importantly, the company has also offered to sell its PCM (the core Phase Change Material technology) product to companies engaged in making cold chain solutions, especially for the pharma industry.
“The demand of the time is such that an individual’s survival depends on the collective might and a concerted fight from all. To fight the pandemic effectively, we believe we need to cooperate and not compete. If we can together solve the challenges of the cold chain sector in India, especially for the vaccines now, we will get many more opportunities to compete,” says Rajat Gupta, Founder & CEO TESSOL.
Critical implications of right cold-chain management are not restricted to pharma alone. It is equally vital in the processing, food, retail, and e-commerce sectors also, says KS Narayanan, an industry observer, and advisor to F& B businesses. “Over the last decade with the rising GDP and rapid urbanization there has been rapid growth and acceptance of frozen foods, ice creams, fresh and chilled agricultural products like fruits and vegetables, dairy products, etc. The onset of the pandemic gave further impetus to the e-commerce and last-mile delivery segments which require robust cold chain from the point of manufacture to the consumer’s doorstep”.
Market research conducted by TESSOL to spot high potential segments that will be most dominant in cold chain expansion in India in the near future has highlighted items like premium milk, value-added dairy products, frozen foods, and ice creams, poultry, and central kitchens. Gupta says, “Even if we exclude the large F&V sector, the total potential for cold chain services in India comes to roughly around $2 billion. Supply chains have transformed; people’s sensitivity towards the quality of food consumed has also evolved. Add to this the vaccine movement and other pharma logistics movements, the demand for cold chain solutions is bound to grow rapidly.”
Gupta adds that the company is seeing a massive foray of e-commerce in the food logistics space. Pandemic and its lockdowns have given a shot in the arm to grocery e-commerce, both institutional and last mile. “Compared to 3 years back, the number of incoming requests has grown almost 5x, which clearly shows increased actual movement on the ground,” he says.
Rajat Gupta, Founder & CEO TESSOL.
How are the solution providers coping with such differentiated market demand then? “We have integrated our technology in platforms ranging from a large truck to a medium size box to a small bag delivering a small packet of butter or ice cream to your home,” says Gupta. His company’s solutions enable pharma and food companies and logistics providers to make end-to-end transportation of vaccines and other products up from source to end customers without breaking up the cold chain in a highly temperature-controlled environment. TESSOL’s proven ‘Thermal Battery’ technology provides the desired temperature control (from -25oC to +25oC) across enclosures ranging from a 5-liter bag to 20-feet (10 ton) truck. Its core technology uses proprietary PCM (Phase Change Material) heat exchangers and chargers that store thermal energy (therefore the term ‘Thermal battery’) and release it as required during the transport period.
“We have evolved much since we started our operations eight years ago. We started as a product company focusing on refrigerated truck systems using Phase change materials. But in the last three years, TESSOL has transformed into a solution provider with a strong technology and application capacity. Having worked with more than 200 customers, including small artisan ice-cream manufacturers and marquee names
, Grofers, Swiggy, and retail giants like , ITC, Haldiram, Veeba, Wingreens, we listened to our customers. The gaps they wanted to bridge in their supply chain – whether delivery to the retailer, distributor, or to the very end customer – became our window to the future of cold chain requirements,” says Gupta.
The TESSOL innovations for long-distance and last-mile movement of pharma products have come at an opportune time for the country, given the need to transport vaccines safely. It has recently tied up with Koolex logistics, a leading pharma trucking company. “We are happy that we launched our products in record time earlier this year and have received a great response from the industry. Our products and solutions cover all temperatures from -20°C (required for Moderna and Sputnik) to 2-8°C required for other vaccines like Covaxin and Covishield. We have already validated our solutions with several pharma companies and logistics players – names that we cannot reveal at this point due to confidentiality agreements,” says Gupta.
What’s next for Gupta? “Our solution is critical for the growth of pharma and food retail not only in India but globally. While we are already investing in growing our capacities, we are actively looking at investments and strategic partnerships that can help scale our technology and solutions worldwide. In the meantime, be rest assured whether it is your ice cream or your vaccine vial, TESSOL is maintaining its temperature with no breaks in their cold chain,” says Gupta.