Bangalore: Swiss private equity and venture capital firm BTS Investment Advisors Pvt. Ltd has invested Rs25 crore for a 17% stake in Caravel Logistics Pvt. Ltd, a Chennai-based firm that runs warehouses and operates a container shipping service between Indian ports.
“We have received a Rs25 crore funding from BTS today,” Caravel Logistics managing director Saju Chacko said over phone on Friday from Dubai, where he is on a visit.
The money will be used to buy a container ship that can carry up to 700 standard containers as well as for setting up a container freight station in Chennai, where cargo is consolidated and put into steel containers ahead of loading on ships and vice-versa.
Caravel, a licensed transport operator, currently handles some 9,000 containers.
In April, Caravel entered India’s coastal shipping with a service for shipping cargo containers linking Mundra port in Gujarat with Kochi in Kerala and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. The firm has hired a Dutch container ship to run the service that will call at each of the three ports once in 10 days.
“We want to be a logistics service provider that can deliver cargo from the factory premises to the consumption points using a combination of rail and sea with peripheral deliveries, and pick-up done by road,” Chacko said.
He said the BTS funding was the first step in the firm’s expansion plan into various logistics activities.
“We have recently purchased a warehouse at Jebel Ali Free Zone to support our logistics activities in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). We will be setting up more warehouses both in India and outside,” he said. The container ship, to be purchased within a month, will be used to run the coastal shipping service.
Caravel owns containers and tractor trailers and has finalized arrangements with private container train operators to move containers from the premises and warehouses of cargo owners to ports for onward shipment. It also plans to ship vehicles as well as temperature-controlled cargo such as dairy products and fruits.