Starting out as a small company headquartered in Kolkata, Inland World Logistics has grown into one of the leading players in the sector. With timely diversification into core and non-core sectors they have managed to hold high the flag of the group even in testing times. Raj Somani, Director, Inland World Logistics, spoke to BE’s Aritra Mitra.
Q. What are your views on government policies like the National Integrated Logistic Policy (NILP) and the EXIM policy for the development of the logistics sector?
A. The policies look promising on paper not only for the logistics sector but for the overall market. Efficiency will improve and there will be a cut in the cost involved. The biggest question is about the implementation and the time taken when and how needs to be overseen. But if these policies were implemented correctly it would be a win-win situation for the government and also the customer - who does not want better services like faster deliveries at a better price, makes it easier accepting policies.
Q. As an important player in this sector, what are the challenges that you face?
A. Right now the challenges are the policies - being acceptable needs to be adopted and implemented. We have been told that improvements will happen and it is not happening on time and that is a major cause of worry since plans delayed is development denied. Lip service should be backed with actions.
I have been told by many customers that GST will bring in many benefits and the customers were ready to accept it. Despite the imposition of the GST, nothing much has changed in the warehousing sector. Not many people have changed their warehouses. The structures of warehouses and the transport organisers have remained the same. There are issues probably which are known to the government but they are not being able address these issues and specially in time.
Q. Is the logistics sector integrally connected with infrastructure creation? What are your expectations from the government as far as infrastructure creation is concerned?
A. Yes, the Indian Ministry of Transport and Highways is positively looking into this sector. The department is trying to improve roads and highways and that will positively impact the logistics market in India. A seamless connectivity of roadways, railways, waterways and ocean freight is required . However, department doesn’t control shipping but ultimately, shipping is also a part of the logistics sector. My major concern about infrastructure would be how the government is going to connect the rivers. And then there is need to enhance road networks. Additionally, the pace at which these processes are undertaken is also equally important since all different stakeholders to plan and move together. There have been certain developments in the road network in India but there are certain issues in some states where the roads are still being developed. Connection and linkage are the issues now.
Again the biggest pain point, there are tolls which need to be moved or be better utilised. The government needs to relook its toll policy. There is no meaning of introducing a cess aimed at development of roads and have tolls at the same time a unified system is called for. The road tax should contain the element of toll. Why are we fragmenting revenue on usage.
Q. What are the challenges that you face abroad and how are those challenges different from those you face in India?
A. I am looking after logistics in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Bhutan and Nepal are directly related with Indian issues. Additionally, in Bhutan we cannot go to certain regions. Nepal also has certain specific issues. For Bangladesh, border issues often impact our business and we need to mitigate them carefully.
Q. Tell us something about your growth journey?
A. We try to keep ourselves updated with customer expectations and industry trends. In future, we would like to grow internationally and also expand to Indian cities where we are not present now. We are also focusing on reducing the delivery time. But for our hopes to become reality it is not we but the government which has to ease infrastructure and minimise systems and processes for adoption of policies.