• 11-01-2022

Navigating The Road Forward For The Freight Transportation Industry In India

COVID-19 impact influence on business and supply chains in India deeply. India has been fighting the COVID-19 virus constantly detecting two waves as it concentrated on completing the vaccination drive with full intensity. The second wave situation was further deepened, due to the inadequacy of medical infrastructure in the rural areas, smaller towns, and within urban centres too. While the country is getting back to business in many states, the impact of COVID-19 has been severe on overall businesses and supply chains in India and globally.

The global supply chain industry has witnessed significant disruptions from the COVID 19:

Shippers globally were incapable to load and unload on account of lockdowns in various parts of the world in the first phase of the pandemic. This resulted in substantial delays in delivery as quarantine timelines needed to be attached, in turn creating a considerable backlog for goods to be delivered at ports. Further, issues such as availability of labour at ports, customs delays, etc., all of which have added up, causing delivery delays, higher freight rates, inventory build-ups, and demand-supply mismatches globally.

Container cargo movement conditions have resulted in the availability of containers shrinking, resulting in a spurt in rates for containers.

As passenger movement stopped or trickled, airlines have focused on increasing their air cargo capacity and have started servicing freight as a priority. However, existing freighters decreased their capacity and frequencies on certain routes leading to more elevated rates with growing volumes.

The road transport industry was severely impacted in the first phase of the pandemic. COVID-19 induced challenges that led to a significant disruption of the supply chains and transportation industry in the country.

While the direct, visible issues have been handled by the fleet operators by vaccination, providing basic requirements of drivers, labour, and other needs, a mindset to think long term and build on the requirements which would help the disrupted supply chains to recover.

The expectations and the operational procedures for all businesses across industries have been permanently altered because of COVID-19. Transportation businesses, as a result, have also witnessed dynamic changes. The intensity of the changes may not be known for a while, but these changes in working practices are already visible across the industries and will continue going ahead. There is an increasing demand for system up-gradation across the entire supply chain, which should include automatic track and trace along with alerts, enhanced navigational abilities, real-time digital tracking, route optimization, and control tower (command and control centre), etc.

The logistics industry involves direct contact between people and goods, making it essential to inculcate technology across all areas in the supply chain.

Hence trucking industry needs to focus on technology, new areas of business as well as end-to-end customer servicing to tide over any further disruptions and build a sustainable business model.