India: IG International's integration gives edge

Taking advantage of eased import regulations in India in 2000, IG Group began to
heavily expand their import and export operations. Over a decade later, they now have 14 companies, one of which, IG International, has become one of the largest Indian importers of fresh fruit thanks to their vast logistics network.

“In general, logistics is a problem in India – though not for us,” said Tarun Arora of IG International. He explained that their fleet of over 50 refrigerated trucks is a big advantage in a country where transportation can be notoriously tough to execute. Additionally, their network of cold storage facilities allows them to provide a consistent supply of fresh fruit throughout India.

“We are one of the largest cold chain players in the country,” said Arora. “We have 20,000 tons of cold storage spread out all across the country.” He added that they need that kind of storage because of the intricacies of the apple import season in India. The window to import apples is small, so vast quantities of apples have to be brought into the country in a short period of time, and without such storage capabilities, IG International wouldn't be able to buy so much or provide such a long period of availability.

“Most of the apples harvested in India are available through January, so after that we're wholly dependent on imported apples,” said Arora. After that, they have to import enough apples in an 11-week period to last from February through August, and without extensive cold chain facilities, they wouldn't be able to accomplish that. Another consequence of the short import window is that they source all of their apples from growers who can guarantee large volumes of quality fruit on a consistent basis.

“We partner with world-renowned suppliers like Dole, Del Monte and Stemilt” said Arora. “we have been lucky to work with strong suppliers in this industry and our suppliers have been very supportive to us in fulfilling our programs and volumes in India.”

Going forward, Arora said they have a bright future with new plantings in Europe to supplement the supplies of fruit they currently ship throughout India and the rest of the world. Cherry orchards have been planted in the Czech Republic alongside apples and pears, and IG International has also penetrated markets in eastern India. With so much expansion, he said that the only thing that can hamper their growth is the current economic situation.

“The biggest threat we face right now has to do with our economy,” said Arora. “Due to fiscal deficit imbalance in Indian economy, we have seen 23% depreciation in the currency year to year against US $. I think it will be challenging to manage currency risk. But on the operations side, we don't really see threats in this market.”

For more information:
Tarun Arora
Tel: +91-22-66272000
Mob: +91-9819248884
Fax: +91-22-66272084

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