With 13 per cent of the GDP being spent on the development of the logistics framework in the country and the spurt in e-commerce, the sector is set to see sunshine in the years to come.
Adarsh Hegde, Executive Director, Allcargo Logistics
Anil Kumar Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, CONCOR
Vikas Anand, Managing Director, DHL Supply Chain India
Suresh Bansal, Director and Head of Supply Chain Solutions, DTDC
Sunil Kumar Jain, Chairman & Managing Director, North Eastern Carrying Corporation
Varun Bhutani, Head- Logistics, AskmeBazaar
Raaja Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo International and Founder of Apollo LogiSolutions
Harish Singla, Founder & Director, Blubox.in
With e-commerce gaining a firm grip in India, what are the opportunities that are being created?
Anil Kumar Gupta
E-commerce has revolutionised the retail logistics in our country. It has opened up big opportunities in supply chain management. Definitely, this is a positive development for the logistics sector.
E-commerce business is a game changer. It is re-writing the rules of commerce in the country. The wave has already started and it is getting stronger by the day. More and more e-commerce companies are entering the market and more investments are coming in. The hard part in the e-commerce game is logistics; rest is technology.
The growth rate of the express industry has been low because of the document business coming down, but e-commerce is changing the game and it is shipping millions of parcels. Logistics partners are growing.
We are at an initial stage in the e-commerce business, at 7 million dollars, whereas China has already reached 2-3 billion dollars. This means there are correct opportunities for existing logistics companies as well as space for new entrants who are looking to enter the market.
We believe that the future of e-commerce lies in the evolving hyper local on-demand model and logistic services will be one of the key success factors to cater to the real time delivery expectations of the consumers.
Sunil Kumar Jain
The sheer volume, along with its superlative growth, offers a huge business opportunity for the players offering allied services.
How is e-commerce logistics different from conventional logistics?
I believe in integrated logistics, which is supply chain end to end. I do not believe that there is a distinction between conventional and e-commerce logistics. The concepts- KPIs and parameters- remain the same. At the end of the day, you need to have a warehouse, a pick and putaway strategy, and management of productivity; what is called dock to stock. What is really different is the logistics company´s ability to ramp up and ramp down volumes in accordance with the needs of the e-commerce companies.
The very first alphabet ´e´ of the business is the differentiating factor. World over logistics is e-enabled and based on technology integration. Real time tracking, updating, ability to integrate with various vendors on one platform are the enablers which cause delivery of goods at lightning speed and with accuracy.
Sunil Kumar Jain
E-commerce logistics is quite demanding and challenging as compared to conventional logistics, and at the same time the former is more cost competitive than the latter.
Logistics is the backbone of the e-commerce industry and this needs to be effective and efficient. Logistics has a different meaning for e-commerce and cannot be done in the way traditional businesses operate. With the advent of the e-commerce business, there are many innovations (software applications, specialised companies, etc.) happening to handle logistics in an efficient manner to address different stages of logistics.
Where does Indian logistics stand in terms of last mile connectivity?
Tier I cities- metro, state capitals- are very efficient in this regard. We run fulfillment centres for top notch e-commerce companies and last mile delivery is not an issue, since the volumes are high and there are economies of scale.
Sunil Kumar Jain
It would not be an over-statement to say that e-commerce logistics is outdoing conventional logistics, that too by quite a margin and in a span of just two-three years. From a few thousand units, specialised e-commerce logistic players have geared-up to efficiently handle daily shipments of a couple of lakhs. All this has been achieved in a very cost-competitive fashion by way of technology usage, and focus on human capital develop¡ment; especially the last-mile delivery eco-system.
E-Commerce logistics is all about last mile delivery. Unless goods are delivered at the right place and at the right time, the whole e-commerce model will collapse. Today our last mile connectivity is constrained by low highway per capital penetration.
What will be the contribution of Dedicated Freight Corridors to seamless connectivity?
Anil Kumar Gupta
Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) will revolutionise the movement of cargo in our country. The movement of cargo from gateway ports to hinterland will become faster and economical on DFC.
Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor is a very exciting project, with high-speed rail running. The project could have moved faster, but there have been issues of land acquisition. Lot of freight moves on the road, which should not be the case as they pollute. Freight should move on high speed corridors.
The Dedicated Freight Corridors will have the same impact that rivers and highways had in the process of development. These corridors will be key infrastructure projects that will drive the economic growth that the government hopes to deliver.
What is your take on the formation of the SPV for efficient rail evacuation systems to the major ports? What about road-rail connectivity?
Any kind of specialised format to evacuate cargo, especially EXIM cargo, is most welcome for a country like India.
To make our ports more efficient, we need to make sure cargo comes and moves out of it, in the least time and at the optimised cost.
Thus, SPV for rail evacuation is one of the most important steps we can take forward. To maximise this further, our ports definitely need rail connectivity to decongest the already stressed network of roads.
Anil Kumar Gupta
The formation of the special purpose vehicle for rail evacuation to major ports is a welcome move which will improve the connectivity of ports. Road and rail must be treated as complementary to each other in overall logistics.
It is an excellent initiative taken by the government. GOI seems to have realised the pressing need to have a special task force to tackle the issues of last mile connectivity at major ports. The close coordination and combined forces of Major Ports and Railways will surely improve the infrastructure and service levels for last mile rail connectivity.