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Warehousing higher profits

In spite of the economic downturn, the CWC achieved its highest ever turnover of Rs 850 crore during 2008-09, registering a growth of about 15 per cent in its operational income, says CWC Managing Director BB Pattanaik in an interview with Gaurav Choudhury.

business Updated: Oct 19, 2009 01:01 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

The Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) was established in 1957 to provide scientific storage facilities for over 400 commodities — including foodgrains, fertilisers, agricultural inputs. Its Managing Director BB Pattanaik spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:

What are the CWC’s main activities?

CWC has been providing scientific warehousing and logistics infrastructure facilities to a wide range of clients including farmers, traders, industrial houses, importers and exporters. Set up initially for storage of foodgrains to avoid distress sale by the farmers, CWC has diversified its activities and presently operates 488 warehouses... besides operating an offshore warehouse in Philippines on a management basis.

How did the CWC perform in 2008-09?

In spite of the economic downturn, the CWC achieved its highest ever turnover of Rs 850 crore during 2008-09, registering a growth of about 15 per cent in its operational income. The warehousing capacity also increased from 99 lakh tonnes to 105 lakh tonnes. In spite of increase in the operating capacity, the capacity utilisation (occupancy) improved substantially to 82 per cent during 2008-09 as against 73 per cent achieved during 2007-08. Besides providing storage facilities, CWC pro-actively assisted in the MSP operations in a number of agricultural commodities such as wheat, paddy/rice, maize and cotton.

What measures has the CWC taken to encourage farmers to use its warehousing facilities?

In order to encourage farmers to store their produce at the warehouses and avoid distress sale, CWC offers 30 per cent rebate in its storage charges to the farmers. Upon deposit of goods, a Warehouse Receipt is issued, on pledge of which, cheap institutional credit can be obtained from the banks, thus avoiding distress sale.

Please elaborate on other activities where CWC diversified?

CWC is aggressively marketing its pest control activities under which disinfestations and pest control services are provided at the doorstep of the customers. These include disinfestations of rail coaches, aircraft, export-import containers, ships etc. Recently, CWC has also diversified its activities into running container trains between Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Loni (Ghaziabad) and operates about six container trains a week.