— Dr. Shailesh B. Surve, Partner, Geeta Shipping & Clearing Services
Geeta Shipping & Clearing Services is a leading Mumbai-based export-import logistics organisation and a pioneer in logistics services ranging from custom clearing and forwarding services to warehousing. Dr. Shailesh B. Surve shares his outlook on the Indian logistics sector.
The Ministry of Shipping aims to triple merchandise exports from $225 billion in 2010 to $750 billion by 2017.
Just the will of the ministry and its aim to achieve something will not help. There is need for sustained political will backed by proactive execution followed by regular monitoring and follow-up.
What are the challenges in the Indian logistics sector?
Excessive regulatory authority system has to perish. Instead of a single-window authority, we have to go through various bureaucratic procedures to get the job done. The process has to be simplified without any ambiguity. There are government initiatives as in warehousing, cold chain and post-harvest storage. Then, in infrastructure, viability gap funding has changed the scenario but personally I feel we haven’t found that mark yet. GST has to fall in line and till it is not consolidated, how can we leverage profitability of any company.
Logistics cost in India is amongst the highest globally which places Indian companies at a disadvantage.
The transaction costs in India were always high. The government needs to discourage human intervention and abolish all old primitive rules and regulations; not just reform them but abolish them in one go. Only then we will be able to reduce cost.
There is a big unorganised market in India where a small time transport company would say it’s a logistics company. There is no strategic study as to how we are supposed to achieve the required costing and then there is absence of reverse logistics.
So the government has to work hand in hand with the private sector. Building new ports will not solve the problem; we need to revamp the existing ports, inland container depots and highways.
India’s warehousing infrastructure, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is highly inadequate. How do you see this scenario evolving?
Warehousing is poised for an exponential growth in next couple of years, but a lot needs to be done. Investments are being done, but there is no particular strategy and the technological know-how is missing.
A landlord or a transport company would also start up a warehouse business if there is availability of land. We need to tie up with foreign players who already know the process and the same process is to be implemented in India.
The trend is now shifting towards logistic parks which are an evolved form of conventional warehouses. Warehouses will get consolidated in a few places in the country, in strategic locations like NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, which are supported by significant demand potential and industrial base.
What are the services provided by Geeta Shipping & Clearing Services?
Well, we are majorly into international freight forwarding. Other than that, we are into project management and bulk services, which includes general to heavy lifts. Presently, we have an international network in 78 countries. We handle complete turnkey projects; recently, we were instrumental in handling Torrent Power and Torrent Energy’s assignment.
What is your company’s strategy for next five years?
We have a pocket of land which we look forward to exploiting. There is a place near JNPT which is in the development process. We would also accelerate the growth in verticals like oil and gas, and infrastructure projects including cold chain and reverse logistics which is in a fragmented and sporadic state. We will also be adding more offices in the subcontinent.