Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) is a Schedule ‘A’ Mini Ratna PSU under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Starting in 1957 with just seven warehouses with 7,000MT capacity, CWC currently runs 465 warehouses across the country with a total capacity of about 10 million tonnes. Its managing director, BB Pattanaik, spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:
What are the main activities of CWC?
Though initially set up for storage of foodgrains to avoid distress sale by the farmers as well as minimisation of post harvest losses, CWC has diversified its activities and now provides scientific warehousing facilities for more than 400 commodities It runs 66 custom bonded warehouses, 36 container freight stations and internal container depots, four air cargo complexes and three temperature controlled warehouses. CWC also runs export-import container trains between Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Delhi-Mundra and Delhi-Pipavav sectors.
How has been the performance of CWC during current year?
In spite of a slowdown in the economy, reduction in export due to trade euro zone crisis, political crisis in West Asia, CWC is likely to achieve an all-time high turnover exceeding R1,200 crore as against turnover of Rs. 1,030 crore during 2010-11. The overall capacity utilisation is increasing from 88% to 90%. In keeping with the national priority of safe storage of foodgrains, about 55% of its total capacity is being utilised for storage of foodgrains and the single biggest and bulk depositor being the Food Corporation of India.
What measures are you taking to augment storage capacity?
During 2012-13, CWC is likely to construct additional storage capacity of 2.10 lakh MT. We have drawn an ambitious corporate plan 2010-20 as per which CWC would have constructed capacity exceeding 122 lakh MT. On an average we would be creating 2 lakh MT per year.
What are your expansion plans?
Our ICD at Kannur (Kerala) will be commissioned during April 2012. We are likely to commence operations of Private Freight Terminals at two of our rail-based facilities at Bamanheri (UP) and Nabha (Punjab). We have a plan to set up a land custom station at Ghojadanga (West Bengal), similar to our facility at Petrapole (West Bengal). The ministry of home affairs has assigned us the responsibility to operate and manage the Cargo Terminal of the state of art Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari (on Indo-Pak border) to facilitate seamless flow of trade between India and Pakistan. This is likely to be operational by the second week of April.
What steps are you taking to for the benefit of the farmers and Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (NWR)?
As on March 1, 2012, 130 warehouses of CWC with a total capacity of 4.98 lakh MT have been registered with the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), which are authorised to issue NW Rs. WDRA has so far notified 40 agricultural commodities for which NWR can be issued. CWC provides priority for storage of stocks belonging to farmers and offers 30% rebate on storage charges. Besides, CWC is providing training to farmers on post harvest management and safe storage of foodgrain at farm level and is also providing metallic storage bins to the farmers. During 2011-12, CWC trained 5,949 farmers and, during 2012-13, we intend to train 6,000 farmers and provide them with metallic bins.