In an effort to both preserve its own crops and position itself as a major player in the export world, India has been working to address cold-storage issues for its fresh produce. According to an article in the Times of India, as much as 30% of fresh fruits and vegetables go to waste in the country because they are not stored properly.

“We need good infrastructure to collect and aggregate farm goods produced in remote areas,” Bijay Kumar, managing director of the National Horticulture Board, told the Times. “They need to be delivered to consumers as early as possible.”

And per an article posted by Fresh Produce India, the government is seeking to rectify this problem by building a perishable cargo center at Amritsar International Airport as well as “packhouses” in more than a dozen locations to ensure the integrity of the cold supply chain.

Toward that end, a delegation of 13 executives representing India’s public and private sector visited the U.S. recently to learn how to improve the quality and safety of perishables during transport. The delegation was hosted by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), and Carrier Transicold, a unit of Carrier Corp.

“The benefits to the Indian cold chain that executives got to see firsthand and [the ability] to learn from experienced leaders in the U.S. is invaluable, as they will be able to apply this knowledge to hasten the pace of development of India’s cold chain,” said Richard Tracy, director of international programs, Global Cold Chain Alliance, a global organization that represents all major industries engaged in temperature-controlled logistics.

The U.S. tour included visits to Carrier Transicold’s Athens, GA, refrigeration manufacturing facility and a Sysco Atlanta food distribution warehouse. At the Carrier plant, representatives saw how the company produces truck and trailer refrigeration products and participated in a workshop on proper loading procedures for refrigerated trucks and trailers.

“We were honored to share best practices in transport refrigeration with this important delegation from India to help them develop safety standards and reliable methods of transporting perishables and frozen foods for both domestic and export consumption,” said David Appel, president of Carrier Transicold.

India public sector participants included representatives from the National Horticulture Board; the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries; and Fresh and Healthy Enterprise, Ltd., which was established by the Container Corp. of India (CONCOR) to create a world-class cold chain infrastructure.

“We are in the process of establishing a refrigerated transport test facility in India,” said Dr. R.K. Sharma, senior deputy director, National Horticulture Board. “Seeing the level of technology in Carrier’s facility was very useful and informative, particularly as we consider financing for transport refrigeration units under government-promoted schemes and projects.”

“It was an enriching experience,” said Ravi Kannan, CEO of Snowman Logistics Ltd, which has 25 warehouses distributing to more than 4,400 outlets in 100 Indian cities. “Visiting the Sysco food distribution warehouse, as well as the Carrier manufacturing plant, added tremendous value as we look to apply best practices in India.”