Maersk, the leading global integrated logistics company, recently successfully delivered its first end-to-end shipment of freshly produced ‘Green Chillies’ from Varanasi to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates (UAE) within a duration of 9 days. The company worked closely with Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA), the apex organization under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products, to enable trade opportunities in the state via land & sea routes. The delivery is a testament to Maersk’s efforts to unlock the agro-trade potential in Uttar Pradesh and expanding across the country by leveraging end-to-end cold-chain logistics solutions.
The eastern part of Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi region) comprising of 5 districts – Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Mirzapur & Sant Ravidas Nagar which are some of the top producers of fresh fruits & vegetables, such as green chillies, okra, bitter gourd, green peas, brinjal, mango, guava etc. present an immense opportunity for the farmers and entrepreneurs in and around the region to boost its agro-exports. Considering these enormous trade prospects offered by the region, APEDA is in the process of setting up Agri-export hubs in these districts along with soon-to-be set up project office to fast-track the co-ordination & facilitation of all activities.
Steve Felder, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia, said “The economy of Uttar Pradesh is predominantly agrarian and performance of agriculture and allied activities such as horticulture, animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries are critical in determining the growth rate of the state. Additionally, due to its favourable climatic and geographical conditions, the agricultural produce from the state especially Varanasi region enjoys a preferred demand in the global market which is the reason the government has plans to make it an export trade hub. Our initiative to take local produce to global market is in-line with our aim to be a global integrator of container logistics connecting and simplifying trade for the farmers & entrepreneurs across the region.”
The shipment was loaded at the facility under the supervision of the company’s Reefer expert and flagged-off by the chief guest, Mr. Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman, APEDA. Throughout the journey from Varanasi to Jebel Ali, leveraging the Remote Container Management (RCM) technology, the temperature of the cargo was accurately maintained at the temperature recommended by the Reefer expert with proper tracking of the container movement and spot-on co-ordination with various stakeholders involved in the project. Sensing the tight schedule of the shipment cycle due to short shelf-life of fresh produce & non-availability of export-quality packing material at Varanasi, Maersk ensured the deployment of an additional driver for inland transportation.
By delivering on ensuring that the chillies reached its destination in top quality, by ensuring on-time delivery and by taking responsibility of various phases of the logistics, Maersk went all the way in making sure its customers were satisfied by the offering from the company.
Future Opportunities in the region
APEDA also organised an export promotion programme & Buyer-Seller Meet (BSM) attended by more than 100 farmers from Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad & Uttar Pradesh during the first half of 2019, to provide a platform to link farmers to exporters. The platform provided a chance to the exporters to understand the potential of the region, quality of vegetables & fruits produced so that they could facilitate the right infrastructure. Furthermore, the government also facilitated Vegetables And Fruits Exporters Association (VAFA), Mumbai to sign an MOU with four Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) for sourcing of fresh vegetables & fruits for exports to international markets. The produce of the first trial shipment consolidated from the FPOs has been processed & packed at CONCOR Cargo Facility, Rajatalab, Varanasi which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2018.
As the future enquiries are in pipeline with an additional route (rail) option, the target commodity is wide-ranging (green chilies, okra, bitter gourd, green peas, brinjal, mango, guava etc.) with focused efforts from the company and government to ensure this to be a year-round movement. The company is in touch with the relevant government stakeholders to help realize the true export potential of the region.