Women in leadership positions have shown more operational and financial efficiency; also, the level of understanding and patience while addressing customer needs is better in their hands.
When I first started with Airfrieght Limited / NS Guzder & Co., they gave me the exposure to all aspects of the freight and travel industry. Working in all the areas of the cargo and logistics business, I grew to be passionate and dedicated to whatever role was assigned to me. I now have over two decades of experience in global freight forwarding with specialization in the Projects/Oil & Gas logistics business and other core industry sectors. The journey has been filled with learning and the joy of being able to deliver on client expectations for critical jobs.
For long, a career in supply chain and logistics has been the domain of men. I wanted to be a trailblazer as one of the first women in this line of work, more specifically in Oil and Gas projects. Today, more and more women are being seen at different levels; some have even managed to break the glass ceiling and have reached the top rung of the ladder in their company or in the logistics department.
In my experience, the opportunity to advance from entry level positions to the top are plentiful, and the work environment in big companies is exciting and challenging. Apart from technological advancement, women in leadership positions have shown more operational and financial efficiency. Also, the level of understanding and patience while addressing customer needs is better in their hands. The added diversity of thought and approach to problem solving is a bonus that women bring to the table. Also, the ability to mentor and provide guidance is a huge benefit for all employees and the company.
Globe Forwarding has an active recruitment and training program for women and all things being equal, the focus is on giving under-represented women the chance to perform and succeed.
Over the past few years, Globe Forwarding has followed and perfected their processes, which was evident even during the pandemic. It involves discipline, persistence, innovation, and constant monitoring and evaluation. I have personally taken on the challenge of getting rid of debt accumulated by the earlier management teams since 2014, and have succeeded in achieving the goal due to the immense responsibility placed on my shoulders.
We have access to some of the best warehouses, container freight stations, and inland container depots across the country and even beyond our shores. This enables our team to provide end-to-end logistics and supply chain management solutions to our clients.
Our asset light model and best practices make sure that all our outsourced drivers and vehicles are well monitored and provide real-time solutions.
As a specialised logistics company focused on Projects/O&G, renewable energy projects, infra, refinery, etc. will remain our key focus areas. Some of our remarkable achievements include the handling of some super ODC / OWC / HL; GIS power stations in some of the remotest parts of India; cross trade shipments; movements for Bangladesh and Nepal, which are a major challenge due to infrastructure issues.
We are an asset light company and do not own vehicles; in fact, all domestic transportation is outsourced and monitored as well. We are able to scale up with the help of reliable and well monitored outsourcing partners.
What's needed is a plan to weave in digital best practices and change the fabric of the logistics infrastructure.
Technological advances have made the logistics business easier to access and have provided an opportunity for companies like us to be more efficient and productive. We take advantage of the new and existing technologies and try to integrate them into our operations for increased efficiency and productivity. Our software division is using new AI and Machine Learning to augment our efforts. The process is ongoing, and the benefits will accrue to our clients and customers.
Facing fierce competition from a host of newcomers, the logistics organizations are trailing behind the digital transformation curve compared to other industries. What's needed is a prudent plan to weave in digital best practices and change the fabric of the beleaguered logistics infrastructures. The productivity and efficiency gains are a huge boon for clients as well as the industry. It is an uphill task, but the transformation is positive for the industry as well as for our clients and customers, as the increased ease of access and efficiency benefits all.
The Government’s continued thrust on infrastructure development will add impetus to the growth of the logistics sector in the coming years.
Some of the biggest challenges still lie with everything that has to do with the Government. The litany of complaints is simply too long, and we will need a separate issue of PI. However, to broadly summarize – polices, procedures, archaic laws and poor infrastructure are the key factors. In addition, the macro environment is detrimental to projects. The political and economic uncertainty means that no one is willing to invest in new projects. Existing projects that have not gone beyond a critical stage, are on hold. Only projects that began 2-3 years back are under execution and are nearing completion; hence, there are very few projects to execute currently.
However, these challenges are short-term in nature; I believe in India’s long-term growth story - the government’s committed spend and continued thrust on infrastructure development will add impetus to the growth of the logistics sector in the coming years. The cabotage restrictions are more now, but this is also a way forward.
Make in India will further boost the manufacturing sector and thereby the Project Cargo business.
The scenario for capital expenditure in this country looks robust, particularly in the next 5 years. With a stable government, which is bullish on growth, especially infrastructure, we may witness a move ahead in terms of the stalled projects. Once these take off, the flow of capital goods for these projects will follow with a lag of 6 to 9 months. Thus, overall, I'm pretty hopeful about the potential of growth in the next 5 years. The Power sector will be the leading industry; Mining, Petroleum and Public Infrastructure will also be the key drivers. Also, with a thrust on renewables, we can expect an increase in project cargo of wind and solar power.
The government’s push for Make in India will further boost the manufacturing sector and thereby the Project Cargo business, as more and more companies will look to start or boost their manufacturing bases in India. Some major investments being made by the Government are the Sagarmala project, freight corridors, inland waterways etc.
The Indian air cargo industry is expected to double in size by the year 2050.
Though the air freight segment holds a small share of India's freight market, it is growing at a fast pace. While India accounts for a meagre 3% of the global air cargo market, the Indian air cargo industry is expected to double in size by the year 2050, as per a study.
It is estimated that Transportation and Logistics costs account for around 14% of the total costs of goods in India; this puts the industry at around $75 billion at the current estimated GDP. Similarly, based on some estimates, there are pending projects to the tune of Rs.7 lakh crores, so, conservatively, the project logistics requirements would be around Rs. 50,000 crores.
With increasing urbanization and a growing demand for warehousing and distribution of goods nationwide, the future is bright for the logistics and supply chain management industry. The initiatives taken by the government in large scale infrastructure investments in roads, inland waterways, ports, airports, and rail connectivity, the demand is bound to pick up. This, accompanied with more efficiency and productivity, means the opportunity is enormous for our line of business.
Getting over challenges and being at the forefront of India's infrastructure growth is the biggest satisfaction I take home.
Challenges have been a part and parcel of my personal journey in this business. Setting high standards and goals and then working tirelessly towards achieving them has paid off. The government and the fraternity should provide more educational and career opportunities for women in this field.
I have been in this industry for over 25 years now and the biggest kick I get is in executing difficult jobs. Earlier, the problem was getting through the underdeveloped infrastructure. While the Infrastructure is not world class, at least it has improved significantly. Now the challenge is in getting bigger cargoes across.
Cost and efficiency pressures have increased and so have the players. So, the nature of the challenges has changed, but the challenges themselves are ever increasing both in volume as well as in complexity. I guess, getting over these challenges and being at the forefront of India's infrastructure growth is the biggest satisfaction I take home.
Having opened the doors of opportunity for women in this field, I wholeheartedly encourage them to take up careers in this industry. The work is hard, but fruitful and rewarding. Being your own boss comes with responsibilities and the ability to take chances, but the satisfaction is greater at the end of the day.