The company plans to partner with the government, private bodies and NGOs in India to strengthen the last-mile Covid vaccine cold chain through ultra-low temperature freezers. These are meant to preserve life-saving medical supplies, including critical vaccines, below minus-80 degrees Celsius. The company believes it has the advantage of a wide network of service centres (680 across India), which extends to the hinterland as well.
In an exclusive interview with TOI, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company CMD Jamshyd Godrej said if India were to use its entire private sector to team up on healthcare and delivery systems through the cold chain and logistics network, it will be easier to quickly get the vaccine to 70% of the population. The expectation, Godrej said, is that in the next month or so, the immunisation drive should open up to the private sector as well.
“We know that in urban and semi-urban centres, the heathcare system is good. The challenge is to reach beyond that. India needs to open the immunisation efforts to private players in every possible way,” said Godrej. The size of the commercial healthcare refrigerators market is currently around Rs 2,000 crore. This is expected to increase given that, even beyond Covid, there is a growing need for cooling in healthcare — at blood banks, organ storage, eye banks, stem cells and pharma cold chains. These require precise cooling in day-to-day operations.
Godrej Appliances, which is a leading player in refrigerators, plans to ramp up its capacities. The current capacity for ultra-low temperature freezers is 12,000 units per annum, which will be increased to 30,000 to meet the growing global demand. The company aims to grow the portfolio by 30-40% over three years, which is expected to take the category’s contribution to its turnover to 7% from the current 5%.