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Royal Cargo harnesses solar energy to run its warehouses

Royal Cargo has upgraded its cold-chain facilities by converting the main power source of its warehouses to solar energy in anticipation of stronger market demand and the resulting rise in energy consumption.

Royal Cargo, in a statement, said its cold-chain facilities are the first warehouses in the Philippines to run on solar technology. The warehouses function as depository for meat, dairy, and juice products.

The installation of solar panels began in 2015 with the Biñan, Laguna warehouse and took three months and two phases to finish, during which period Royal Cargo evaluated the viability and cost efficiency of adopting solar technology in its operations. After achieving a 9% drop in overall electricity cost within the first year of installing solar technology at the Laguna facility, the company decided in 2016 to expand the shift to solar energy to its warehouse in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

According to Royal Cargo president Elmer Sarmiento, moving to solar technology is part of the company’s vision to bring world-class cold-chain facilities to the Philippines.

“We started looking for an alternative power source that can sustain and even improve our facilities’ operations without overspending substantially. Under the direction of our group CEO, Michael Raeuber, we began investing in green technology and eventually saw more opportunities from it,” Sarmiento said.

The solar-powered cold-chain facilities in Laguna and Cavite, which have 1 megawatt (MW) and 225 kilowatt (KW) energy capacity, respectively, see up to P4 million in savings annually in total electricity costs. To reduce electricity costs by up to 50%, Royal Cargo plans to adopt solar technology at its other major base of operations this year, the north hub in Bulacan, which is the company’s biggest and most up-to-date cold-chain facility, set to be inaugurated in June this year.

Senior vice president for contract logistics Jet Ambalada said that as a cold-chain specialist, the company offers top-tier facilities, a well-thought-out distribution system, and expertise on how to effectively manage the cold-chain supply requirements of different industries, primarily the food retail sector.

“We go beyond providing storage of frozen goods. We also cover delivery of such items to different points across the country,” Ambalada said.

Royal Cargo’s cold-chain solutions also include transportation of containerized goods using 40- and 20-foot containers, and the company has bought smaller vans and trucks to ensure 24/7 delivery service. For delivery of smaller products and goods, the company purchased tricycle-type vehicles with a small refrigerated container at the back. All these are intended to address the different requirements of its clients.

“We see continued growth in the local frozen goods sector. The more sophisticated tastes and growing purchasing power of Filipinos brought about by the increasing OFW remittances and the robust business process organizations’ (BPOs) investments in the country will continue to spur demand for frozen products. These developments in the local business landscape promises better years ahead in the industry,” Sarmiento said.

Anticipating stronger market demand and rising energy consumption, the company continues to invest in new technologies, such as solar energy.

“While operations prior to installing solar technology worked well, we believe that there is always a smarter way to work. Aware of the high energy costs of cold-chain facility operations, we looked for ways of boosting performance and efficiency without compromising the quality of our service and risking cost efficiency. We saw opportunities in converting our warehouse power source to solar energy,” Sarmiento added.


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