Logistics Industry is crucial to both enterprises and the economy. In today's interconnected world, shipping and logistics are at the heart of the economy, acting as vital gateways for international trade and business. A nation with a strong and effective logistics sector offers an efficient forward and reverse flow of goods and services, which eventually translates to fast-paced growth. The Indian logistics industry includes all inbound and outbound components of the manufacturing and service supply chains.
Significant factors that will increase the demand for India's logistics sector include the country's anticipated GDP growth of US$ 26 trillion by fiscal year 2048 (US$ 6 trillion by 2030) and its objective to accelerate merchandise exports to US$ 1 trillion by 2030. This would open a huge opportunity for India's transport and logistics sector, which is expected to increase at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2022 to 2050, reaching 15.6 trillion tonnes kilometres. The Indian transport and logistics business is expected to be around Rs. 13-16 lakh crore (US$ 156.18-192.23 billion) in 2022. By 2030, India wants to lower its logistics expenditures from 13-14% of GDP to 8-10% of the GDP. It is projected that a 10% reduction in indirect logistics costs is expected to result in a 5% to 8% increase in exports. According to the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) of the World Bank, India has climbed six positions to reach the position of 38th rank out of 139 nations. The improvement is attributed to a variety of factors, including technological advancement, data-driven decision-making, and legislative initiatives targeted at promoting world-class infrastructure. The National Logistics Policy (NLP) and the PM Gati Shakti programme are significant overarching policy moves taken by the central government in this area to deliver outcomes by 2024-25.
Transportation and Logistics Landscape in India
Transport and logistics refer to the procedures involved in the manufacture, storage, inventory, delivery, and distribution of specific commodities or services. The logistics sector in India was predicted to account for 14.4% of GDP in 2022. It is the primary source of income for more than 22 million people. The overall logistics sector in India includes 37 export promotion councils, 40 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), 20 government agencies, 10,000 goods, and 500 certifications. Between the financial years 2015-16 to 2019-20, India invested approximately US$ 10.2 trillion in the development of infrastructure. The freight movement in India is significantly prejudiced towards road transportation, which transports 66% of goods (in ton-kilometres). This is followed by rail (31%), shipping (3%), and air (1%). To facilitate cargo transportation, India has a vast network of support infrastructure, including 129+ inland container depots, 168+ container goods stations, and 300 m sq. ft. of warehouse capacity. The logistics sector in India can be divided into the following
The surface transport sector is anticipated to experience the fastest growth in India's infrastructure sector, with a CAGR of more than 8% in 2020. Additionally, the trucking sector is very unorganised and fragmented. Less than five trucks make up the fleet of 70% of the truck owners in the industry. Through different asset monetisation techniques and funding through Special Purpose Vehicles, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is working to reach a target of over Rs. 40,000 crore (US$ 4.80 billion) for the current financial year (2023-24). The road network in India has risen from 62.15 lakh km in FY21 to 63.73 lakh km by January 2023. The transportation sector can be further divided into the following categories:
Source: Aviral and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
The FTL market contributes significantly to the Transportation sector. The FTL market was anticipated to be around US$ 120 billion in 2021. It is expected to increase at a rate of 7-8% in the upcoming years (2022 onwards).
In terms of revenue, the PTL ranks as the second-largest contributor to the Indian surface transportation industry. In 2021, it was expected to be worth approximately US$ 12 billion, with an annual growth rate of 8-10%. Part truckload services are becoming increasingly popular around the country.
While India has less than 2% of the global express business, it has one of the fastest-growing express industries. The Indian Express market is fragmented, and there are reportedly 1,000 active players. The domestic express market is dominated by approximately 15 large competitors. The remaining players range in size from small to medium-sized enterprises. The sector was expected to grow at a CAGR of around 15% by 2020, reaching US$ 5.5 billion.
India has the world’s fourth-largest rail network and accounts for the second highest percentage of goods moved in terms of volume. From April to September 2023, a total freight loading of 758.20 million tonnes (MT) was obtained, compared to a loading of 736.68 MT the previous year, representing a rise of around 21.52 MT. During September 2023, Indian Railways loaded 59.70 MT of coal, 14.29 MT of iron ore, 5.78 MT of pig iron and finished steel, 6.25 MT of cement (excluding clinker), 4.89 MT of clinker, 4.54 MT of foodgrains, 4.23 MT of fertiliser, 4.0 MT of mineral oil, 7.28 MT of containers, and 10.10 MT of rest of all other goods. The average speed of freight trains on the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) will more than double with the inauguration of DFC. In 2021, India pledged to invest Rs. 3 lakh crore (US$ 36.04 billion) in the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) to build dedicated rail tracks and related infrastructure for the transit of goods trains.
Source: Aviral and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
India has a 7,500 km (4,660 miles) coastline that is encircled by the sea on three sides. India has 200 minor/intermediate ports and 12 big ports, which together, account for 65% of the country's total value and 95% of its volume of trade. The Indian coast offers a huge opportunity for the movement of cargo. By 2025, total cargo movement is estimated to exceed 250 MTPA. Commodities including petroleum, oil, lubricants, building supplies, and dry bulk cargo like cereal grains, fertiliser, steel, coal, and minerals are ideal for coastal transportation. On December 15th, 2021, the Government of India (GoI) pledged to invest Rs. 3-3.5 lakh crore (US$ 38-44 billion) across ports, shipping, and in-land waterways under the Maritime India Vision (MIV), which would help unleash Rs. 20,000 crore (US$ 2.40 billion) in potential annual revenue for Indian ports. Indian Government plans to replace diesel with electricity for at least half of the vehicles and equipment needed by the major ports by 2030 and to increase that number to 90% by 2047. The shipping ministry wants ports to build at least one liquified natural gas (LNG) bunkering station by 2030 and electric vehicle charging facilities near port areas by 2025 to decrease the usage of petrol. Moreover, the major ports collectively handled a record-breaking 795 million tonnes of cargo in 2022-23, registering a 10.4% growth over the previous year.
Airways account for less than 2% of the total modal mix. The materials transported by air for freight movement are primarily time-sensitive commodities such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, electronics, etc. Airways are not recommended for non-time-sensitive freight movement of commodities since they are more expensive than other means of transportation. As of June 30th, 2023, the Regional Air Connectivity Fund Trust (RACFT) has released Viability Gap Funding (VGF) amounting to Rs. 2,729.11 crore (US$ 333 million) to the selected airline operators for the operation of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme. 479 routes are in operation, connecting 74 airports, including two water aerodromes, and nine heliports, based on the four rounds of bidding under UDAN. The Scheme has benefitted around 123 lakh passengers.
These are specifically designed freighters for air cargo.
This cargo movement is commonly done in the belly of commercial planes.
2. Warehousing Industry
A warehouse is an essential component of corporate infrastructure and one of the primary enablers in the global supply chain. the Indian warehousing market is predicted to reach Rs. 2,872.10 billion (US$ 34.50 billion), expanding at a CAGR of 15.64% from 2022 to 2027. With increased demand and supply throughout the years, the Indian warehousing industry is gaining traction. The key players are third-party logistics (third-party logistics) and e-commerce enterprises, which are growing into tier 2 and 3 cities and eventually increasing their proportion of secondary marketplaces. With a market share of more than 60%, 3PL and e-commerce are the largest lessors of storage space. To assist this expansion, the government is building multimodal logistic parks and other projects that connect urban transit to railways, attracting investments from institutional funds and developers.
3. Value Added / Other Services
Value-added/other services include a variety of operations such as customs clearing, Logistics packaging, Inventory management, Material handling equipment, etc.
Customs clearance is a time-consuming and difficult process that necessitates much documentation and coordination. However, many established businesses and startups nowadays are utilising technological platforms to streamline this process. Customs automation has aided the industry and made operations more efficient.
Freight forwarding is the business of organising shipments for individuals or corporations to move commodities from the manufacturer to an international buyer. The freight forwarder serves as a liaison between the liner and the shipper. A freight forwarder streamlines the procedure and provides the customer with an estimated price rate after adding his margin.
Packaging is an essential component of the overall supply chain. Proper packaging services are essential for businesses before the goods are delivered to the customer.
1. Green logistics technology
The use of green logistics technology, such as tools for measuring the climate, real-time data collection tools, electric vehicles, green cold chain solutions, electric cargo delivery drones, and platforms for managing logistics resources, can have a variety of advantages, such as decreasing waste, streamlining procedures, boosting an organization's competitiveness, and being environmentally friendly. Several businesses, including Spencer, Bigbasket, Amazon, Licious, Myntra, and Flipkart, have joined forces with Zypp Electric for their last-mile delivery through e-vehicles and e-vehicle fleet management.
2. Embracing digital ecosystems
Collaboration among technology providers, logistical service providers, and customers backing innovation, knowledge sharing, and the acceleration of digital transformation. Collaborative ecosystems offer seamless integration, streamline processes, and provide greater consumer experiences.
End-to-end supply chain orchestration is facilitated by advanced platforms and digital markets. By utilising these platforms, businesses are able to connect with a large network of suppliers, transporters, and service providers, which helps to streamline logistics processes and shorten time-to-market.
The rapid expansion of e-commerce has had a tremendous impact on the logistics business, resulting in a surge in demand for foreign goods and MSMEs selling in the international markets. The growth is being driven by millennials, who make up a major share of the professional purchasing decision market and anticipate online shopping interfaces. As a result, efficient and dependable delivery services have become essential, resulting in the creation of cross-border digital markets with significant economic growth.
4. Technological innovation
AI-powered algorithms and machine learning models enable predictive analytics, demand forecasting, route optimisation, and real-time decision-making. These solutions enable organisations to optimise their supply chains, better allocate resources, and provide better consumer experiences.
With the proliferation of IoT devices, logistics organisations have increased visibility and control over their assets and inventories. Real-time tracking, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance are made possible by IoT sensors and connectivity, allowing proactive and efficient logistics operations.
Automation technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and autonomous vehicles are altering warehouse operations and last-mile delivery. Robotics automates repetitive operations, minimises errors, increases speed, and improves safety, resulting in cost savings and higher output.
The uneven distribution of modes of transport has resulted in low operational efficiency, causing the GOI to launch a number of logistics-specific programmes, including GatiShakti and the National Logistics Policy. These initiatives seek to improve India's logistics sector by making it more environmentally friendly, agile, transparent, and integrated. The logistics management regimen is capable of overcoming infrastructural disadvantages in the short term while providing cutting-edge competitiveness in the long term. Physical transporters that execute their business processes manually and offline can use various technologies such as AI, Big data, and IoT to improve their service and compete in an international market by delivering real-time and end-to-end connections.
To realise the full potential of the sector, stakeholders such as service providers, customers, and the government of India must work and complement one another. The sector is experiencing significant infrastructural expansion, a stronger emphasis on digitalization, and a larger emphasis on sustainable logistics. The launch of numerous start-ups, as well as the Government's digital initiatives such as "Make in India," Unified Logistics Platform (ULIP), and others, are assisting in bringing greater transparency to the logistics sector. The digitization of work processes to enable paperless processing of paperwork and clearances, as well as improved shipment tracking, aids in increasing the pace of goods movement and lowering logistics costs.