Manufacturing, infra push to boost logistics in India, automation to be key in 2021

Patti Vivolo, Commercial Program Manager, Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation.

New Delhi, (Asian independent) The logistics sector is at the cusp of the next phase of growth on the back of the push for manufacturing and infrastructure development in the country, market players feel.

With the country emerging out of the pandemic, and technology taking a whole new meaning in this post-Covid world, they feel, automation will be the next big thing in logistics.

“Multinationals and global supply chains in the reviving times are finding India an attractive location to establish their manufacturing base which will certainly prove instrumental for our economic growth and will have direct impact on the growth of logistics industry,” said Pawan Jain, Founder & Chairman, Safexpress.

He added that government initiatives like ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, setting up of logistics corridors, giving infrastructure status to the industry among others are driving economic growth of the country.

“Resilient and adaptive systems and proactive readiness for future, triggered through technology and automation will be the key approach for 2021, an outcome based on the learnings of 2020 after getting exposed to our weaknesses and gaps during the pandemic,” Jain said.

Lancy Barboza, MD of Flomic Global Logistics noted that logistics and freight forwarding segment saw a dip in business volumes during the month of April 2020, mainly due to the pandemic spread out followed by the nationwide lockdown, but once the restrictions on the movement of goods were eased, it picked up steadily.

He was of the view that the year 2020 has taught many lessons to entrepreneurs and business leaders who would implement these lessons in their business strategy for 2021 and beyond.

“One learning will be to adopt digitalisation of transactions. May it be banking transactions, foreign exchange remittances, or even the internal working in the organisation which till Covid was heavily paper-oriented. The paperless, faceless initiative introduced by Indian Customs will be a game-changer in the coming days in the faster and smoother clearance of import and export cargoes,” Barboza said.

Ambrish Kumar, Founder of Zipaworld and Group CEO of AAA 2 Innovate Private Ltd was of the view that 2021 is ought to see more digital transformation to facilitate the new normal, be it small and medium enterprises or large enterprises.

He also noted the pivotal role likely to be played by the logistics sector in the distribution and transportation of Covid-19 vaccines.

Noting that several countries are banking on India in terms of supply of vaccines, he said: “However, due to the supply chain challenges like capacity crunch and shooting up of air freight prices coupled with the container shortage scenario for ocean freight, India seems like losing the opportunity and lagging in the competition.”

In 2021, according to Soham Chokshi, CEO and Co-founder at Shipsy, the major themes which will dominate will be vaccine procurement and distribution along with supply catching up with the demand as economic activities come to full swing.

“We expect demand to keep building up till the Q2 of this calendar year with rates normalcy kicking in towards the end of summers. The record low interest rates globally would help businesses, as also witnessed in rising commodity prices, it looks like 2021 will bring in strong positivity and economic growth,” Choksi said.

Naman Vijay, CEO and Co-founder of ClickPost, emphasised impact of the e-commerce business on the logistics sector.

“E-commerce sector has seen unprecedented adoption of technology during the pandemic and we see three major trends that will dominate logistics in 2021. Firstly, online retailers will prefer working with multiple courier partners to increase reach and reduce shipping costs,” Vijay said.

Secondly, the online shoppers will expect real-time shipment tracking for their orders, and thirdly, e-commerce companies will invest significantly in automating logistics processes to improve long-term profitability, the ClickPost CEO said.