Isuzu fully-built trucks

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Isuzu Motors India is offering fully-built trucks that address the exacting needs of its buyers.

Story & Photos: Ashish Bhatia

Isuzu Motors India showcased two fully-built concept trucks at the recent India Cold Chain show. The trucks, based on its D-Max pick-up platform, are an indication of the company’s strategy to address the exacting needs of its buyers. Having sold an estimated 3000 units in FY2016-17, of which the S-Cab and Regular Cab accounted for 1000 units, the move to offer fully-built units is said to be in-line with the provisions of GST, which makes it cost-effective for buyers to opt for a fully-built truck rather than to get an aftermarket superstructure fabricated. The two fully-built concepts that the company displayed at the India Cold Chain show were built on the D-Max regular cab. Their design took into consideration the key requirements of the company’s customers. Claimed to deliver on the count of performance, quality and reliability, Isuzu Motors India, according to Satyendra Mandalapu, Assistant Manager, Business Development Division, Isuzu Motors India, is keen to take advantage of the widening tax structure after the implementation of GST. “Post GST, fully-built reefer trucks fall under the 18 per cent tax slab,” mentioned Mandalapu.

Rather than to get the superstructure built by an aftermarket player under the GST tax slab of 28 per cent, the procurement of a fully-built vehicle under the 18 per cent GST tax slab clearly makes it more practical. Prior to the implementation of GST, the tax incidence, depending on the state in which the transaction took place, amounted to 14.5 per cent. “With Isuzu offering fully-built trucks, operators can expect to gain a 10 per cent cost benefit. This would lead to substantial savings,” averred Madalapu. He said, “In case the truck is priced at Rs.10 lakh, a 10 per cent saving amounting to Rupees-one lakh is substantial. This is especially the case for fleet owners that are looking at a lower cost of ownership in a highly competitive transport-business environment.” The reefer and the dry box proto that Isuzu Motors India displayed at the fair are estimated to cost in the range of Rs.10 and Rs.12 lakh. Offered with a three year or 10,000 km warranty, the trucks are powered by a 78 hp, 2500 cc four-cylinder common-rail turbo inter-cooled diesel engine. A more powerful 135 hp engine is also on offer.

Claimed to offer superior efficiency and agility that is desired of a reefer truck to ensure the quality of cargo transported by cold-chain operators does not diminish, the Isuzu D-Max fully-built truck, equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, is claimed to offer among the best fuel efficiency and refinement in its class. The front suspension of the truck is made up of double wishbones. The rear suspension is made up of semi-elliptic leaf springs. Competing with the likes of Tata Yodha, Mahindra Bolero and Ashok Leyland Dost+, the vehicle, according to Madalapu, in a fully-built form, aligns with the company’s strategy to address evolving market needs. To offer products that are competitive, both in terms of price and specifications. Expected to introduce similar products in the future by co-operating with professional converters (body builders), the company is confident of offering vehicles that are of high quality and meet the business needs of the buyers. Built over a wheelbase of 3095 mm, the reefer concept truck that Isuzu Motors India displayed at the India Cold Chain show measured 5520 mm in length, 1820 mm in width and 2550 mm in height. The dry box concept vehicle measured 5525 mm in length, 1820 mm in width and 2605 mm in height. It too was built on a wheelbase of 3095 mm.

The container of the concept reefer truck was fitted with a Thermoking V500 mAX 10 (without electric standby) AC. The container body was made up of an aluminium white sheet on the outer and inner panel. In the case of dry box concept truck, the inner panel was made up of steel white sheet. An aluminium white sheer was retained on it.

The XPS material measured 35 mm in thickness in the dry box concept. In comparison, the XPS material measured 100 mm in thickness in the reefer. With a rated payload of 920 kg compared to 720 kg payload of a conventional dry box vehicle, the protos – both of them, were fitted with a 90 Ampere alternator to take care of additional electrical needs. Designed to address the growing demand for modern and efficient cold-chain transportation in India, the reefer vehicle was built by a Thai converter using a ‘sandwich’ process. Making use of light-weight aluminium and high quality extruded polystyrene (XPS) material rather than the commonly used PUF panels, the D-Max concept vehicles, according to Mandalapu, offer superior thermal stability and a higher payload capacity.

The reefer truck market in India is pegged at under 10,000 units. With infrastructure development, it is growing. As the agricultural supply chain gains in efficiency, players like Isuzu Motors India have a headroom for growth. The year-on-year growth is estimated to be 10 per cent. When compared to the developed markets like France, the reefer van market in India is on a much lower base at 1,40,000. Set to experience a good turnaround, the reefer truck market, it is not surprising, has Isuzu interested. Considering the dearth of reefer vehicle, there isa good room for growth. While a sigificant up take in reefer trucks, and dry box containers expected, it will be greatly influenced by new technologies. The way a reefer truck is built will assume greater importance. The market needs will also get more and more complex. Mentioned Mandalapu, “Isuzu manufactures 22 to 25 reefer trucks in India with a 70 per cent localisation content. A 10 to 20 per cent growth over the current average would be ideal.” To offer fully-built trucks, Isuzu Motors India is expanding as well as arming its dealer network. The additional firepower should help the company reap the benefits as the market picks up pace.

India Cold Chain show

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Cold chain logistics players highlighted their capabilities at the sixth edition of India Cold Chain show.

Story & photos: Ashish Bhatia

Held at Mumbai on December 12, 2017, the sixth edition of India Cold Chain show attracted the participation of over 200 Indian and international exhibitors providing cold storages, temperature controlling, material handling, logistics and cold chain supply solutions including 76 first time exhibitors. Spanning 5000 sq. m., the show saw the participation of big and small industry stakeholders and CV companies like Isuzu Motors India. Hinting at the growth this industry space is enjoying, CV OEMs like Isuzu Motors India displayed a reefer van and a dry box pick-up truck based on its D-Max pick-up truck platform. Ice Make Refrigeration Ltd., displayed a Eutectic mobile container for local frozen distribution. With a 12-hour daytime distribution and 10 hours of night time charging, the company positioned the Eutectic mobile container as an offering that will prove to be highly advantageous than a conventional diesel engine container. The Eutectic mobile container is claimed to have a lower vehicle engine maintenance time (no load on the engine). It is also said to be cheaper, and easier to maintain, therefore. Capable of being repaired by local technicians, the container, according to the company, helps attain zero carbon emission. Aimed at ice cream and frozen food transportation, the container panel thickness is 100 mm. It is layered with a 60 mm Eutectic pad and has a storage capacity of 140 C.F.T (3.95 cu. m.). Weighing 1050 kgs, the Eutectic mobile container is priced at Rs.3.90 lakh (exclusive of GST)

Hwasung Thermo displayed roof mount air-conditioners. These include the HT-050RT, HT-100RT and HT-250 RT, and are aimed at delivery vans. Reefer India displayed a refrigerated container it has built on an Eicher Pro platform. The PUF insulated container is suitable for transporting temperature sensitive goods. Its corrugated outer wall is made up of a 1.4 mm GI sheet (JSW make). It is claimed to be capable of withstanding rigorous weather conditions and is free from corrosion. Helpful in reducing weight, the container is mounted on a sub-frame. The door gaskets are of the EPDM rubber variety. The ‘J’ and ‘P’ type of gaskets are claimed to ensure a vacuum seal. Geo-tagged via GPS sensor, the reefer truck has its container temperature monitored with multiple temperature sensors for safe and secure transportation. Sub Zero Insulation Technologies Pvt. Ltd. displayed a comprehensive range of refrigerated solutions. The company, on a BharatBenz 1617R truck, displayed a reefer container. Highlighting the company’s design prowess, the reefer truck also hinted at the manufacturer’s ability to offer customised solutions. Solutions that include a choice of flooring, accessories and allied equipment. The company also offers dry freight boxes, eutectic systems and multi-temperature boxes. Its single continuous panel with steel reinforcements are claimed to be high in strength.

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Pointing at the need for the cold chain logistics space to mould itself into an organised playing field to achieve higher and better growth, industry stakeholders called for the need to tap opportunities in an environment that is fast changing. They stressed upon the study by Crisil, which was made public at a panel discussion on ‘Tapping opportunities in cold chain and future trends in the cold storage, cold transport and cold supply chain sectors’. “The study reveals that 91 per cent of the cold chain industry in India is unorganised. This calls for a need for the industry to organise itself. Only then will the acceptance levels among customers will go up,” said Binaifer Jehani, Director – Research, Crisil Ltd. She opined that organised players are finding it tough to compete with the unorganised players. Stressing upon the need for quality, Jehani said, “Customers will pay only when they see quality.” Stating that the cold chain logistics market in India is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 27 per cent, and expected to expand at a CAGR of 23.88 per cent in value terms by 2019, Jehani averred that the growth potential is high.

Market drivers

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A discussion on private equity investment at the India Cold Chain Show put it as one of the key emerging market trends. The other market drivers discussed were the entry of foreign insulation equipment manufacturers, refrigeration equipment providers, and the need of greater cold storage facilities and logistics. Touching upon the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, the discussion also included the allowance of 100 per cent FDI. Highlighting a study where several relaxations and financial incentives have been offered, the discussion saw panellists call for automation and efficient transport solutions. Delving upon the need for mechanisation in transportation and storing of products as well as commodities, which would lead to higher life-span, the discussion had one of the panellists stress upon a reduction in overhead costs. About reduction in overhead costs as far as refrigeration and distribution are concerned. The resultant improvement in cool chain supply management highlighted a panellist, would attribute to the introduction of safety, handling, designing, and operations for products and raw produce. Speaking on the sidelines of the fair, Anand Sen, Business Head, Future Supply Chain, opined, “The rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has changed the game. Customers have understood the need to focus on core areas. The focus today is on consolidation and speed. These are exciting times for service providers.”

Market challenges

With over 3500 companies claimed to make the unorganised part of the cold chain logistics industry, the organised part accounts for a mere 10 per cent of the industry overall. Challenges include fragmentation, high operating costs, lack of small size reefer vehicles, and high ambient temperatures. With an estimated 5,381 cold-storages contributing 95 per cent of the total storage capacity, the need is to offer efficient cold chain services, and to improve the poor road conditions, mentioned an industry stakeholder. Another stakeholder said that the high number of toll nakas are leading to a loss of efficiency. With 36 per cent of the 5,381 cold-storages claimed to be below 1000 metric tonnes capacity, the talk at the fair was to impart skills to improve supply chain management, and to employ advanced technologies to improve the efficiency. Mentioned Shaukat Ali Farooqi, Director, Allanasons that there was a need to audit the reefer fleets. He cited irregularities that are prevalent in the pharma sector. “There is a need to monitor the temperature control and audit the reefer fleet,” mentioned Farooqi. He opined that ice cream companies and restaurants should demand quality that is no less than in the advanced markets.

Stating that it took 10 years for the dairy industry to reach where it is today, Jehani expressed the need for others to follow. Sangram Sawant, CEO of PescaFresh, drew attention to the interruptions at several stages of the chain between sourcing and last mile delivery. “For food safety and quality, the temperature has to be carefully and continuously controlled as well as monitored. This has to be done at each stage of the supply chain because most food products are temperature sensitive and perishable. To ensure food safety, it must be kept at an appropriate temperature at all times, and the origin of acquisition to processing, storage, transportation, and sales,” averred Sawant. “If this is adhered to, the food loss will greatly reduce. Food wastage and contamination will be prevented, and effective control of food quality and safety will be achieved,” said Sawant. Sawant also touched upon the need to bring regulations to create a pull. He spoke in favour of green technology. Mentioned a participant that there was a need to substitute refrigerants like perfluorocarbons (FCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with natural refrigerants. The use of multi-temperature models in small cargo transportation is innovative, he said.

Internet of Things

At the fair, the Internet of Things (IoT) was the buzzword. A discussion on IoT brought to the fore the opportunities cold chains, reefer truck manufacturers and commercial refrigerator manufacturers could draw. IoT was cited as a crucial tool to efficiently manage the assets, make them productive and profitable. The discussion on IoT also highlighted how it could be used to precisely monitor and manage temperature and humidity, reduce energy costs, deploy predictive maintenance, and use Big Data analytics for actionable business insights. “The biggest obstacle is in its acceptance,” expressed Baasit Shukri, National Cold Chain Manager, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). Stressing upon the need to look beyond passive data logging, he said that the need was to use it as a standard technology even though it would increase the overall equipment cost. Co-founder and CEO of Atsuya Technology, Rahul Gandhi mentioned that the need is to make dumb assets smart. He highlighted key trends like the demand for real-time data and analytics, the evolution of predictive maintenance, and low powered and long-range sensors for monitoring. Speaking of end-to-end refrigeration monitoring, Gandhi gave the example of a reefer truck. He averred that parameters like location, energy, water detection and temperature through a GSM sim could be routed to the Atsuys Kryo Cloud, which in turn would route the push notifications to relevant stakeholders including the store manager, technician and the respective OEM. Gandhi also spoke about the key considerations for the implementation of IoT. Stating that global users of IoT for refrigeration include Kroger, BPL logistics, Hershey’s ice cream, Subway and Bayer, Gandhi expressed, “It is crucial to check the ROI before narrowing down to a technology. “The choice is between predictive and prescriptive models of data. One needs to filter down 200 data points in the case of a reefer truck,” he signed off.