Tiger Logistics - a leading logistics and supply chain company of India is achieving milestones time and again with its expertise in project handling, performance and practices, and novel experiments to achieve the impossible. A recent example is the Nhavasheva port in which the company exported break-bulk cargo for the first time in the history of the port. Mumbai has only two ports: the Bombay Port and the Nhavasheva port. All break-bulk related cargo is exported or imported through the Bombay Port. However, Team Tiger, for the first time, exported break-bulk cargo from the Nhavasheva port. The achievement was yet another show of the company’s strength and determination.
The company today has a staff strength of 375+ persons, a fleet of 159 vehicles with 14 offices in India – New Delhi, Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Veraval, Mundra, Hazira, Vadodara, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Bengaluru, and Chennai and an office in Singapore.
Business Potential in Indian Ports
As a leading 3PL company in the Indian logistics market, Tiger Logistics (India) Limited has covered almost every state in India that has a port and has proven its mettle over several better-established and better funded competitors. It has the most advanced technologies like customer redressal system, mobile applications, GPS tracking and cloud computing to improve communications, logistics, and inventory tracking.
Another example of the company’s expertise was its handling of the shipment for Usha Martin – a leading producer of speciality steel and one of the largest wire rope manufacturers, globally. The company manufactures wires, wire ropes, steel with captive mineral linkages of iron ore and coal and cables. The vessel owner MSC Mumbai and Tiger Logistics handled its charter operations. Tiger Logistics started with four reels each of 64.2 metric ton weight and dimensions of L=3 x W=3 x H=3.2 in meters. The cargo was loaded and discharged with the help of gantry crane and with the manual support of only 8 specialized labourers. The U/deck shipment position at vessel side at POL was starboard side / portside alongside at MSC Benedetta 951R vessel and the final destination was Port of Antwerp. The cargo was discharged directly on the consignee’s vehicle.
“The intricacies of moving project cargo include a good understanding of the nature of the cargo, economic and strategic planning of execution, total survey of the route and correct selection of land-side handling equipment and vendors, time management planning, and ensuring that the job is executed as per the financial and operational planning, keeping delivery schedules as committed,” says Malhotra.
“It is also necessary to give attention to details for meticulous execution, identify experienced handlers and supply chain specialists for handling odd-sized project cargo, and their clearance at the customs. The movement of heavy and odd-dimension cargo through busy city streets and highways, and handling of the cargo at the loading and unloading sites requires specialised handling skills and equipment, including route surveys and equipment availability. Only an experienced project manager or a team with specific skillsets and core competencies can make project handling successful. From aggressive negotiation to closing post sales fixtures to using the right equipment for the right cargo, the key lies in the confidence of the team during execution. Dealing with a cargo of peculiar dimensions is always a challenge for the project forwarder. The loading and unloading of such cargo require expert supervision,” he adds.
Solutions for All
“Project cargo logistics is a term that covers a wide range of activities, from the movement of unusually large or heavy loads to the management of time-critical ones. In basic terms, it can be defined as the coordination, planning, and management of particularly challenging logistics projects. The demand for heavy and oversized cargo is fast expanding on account of the Indian government’s special thrust on developing infrastructure. The heavy items could include turbine, power components, and defence-related equipment. It could also be fragile and dangerous goods that need specialised handling. However, there is no standard formula or set operational process; it varies from project to project. It requires minute and advance planning as well as a seamless execution over land, water, or any mode of transport. Time being a key factor for every project, all stakeholders must work together as a team instead of following an owner/contractor approach,” informs Malhotra.
Multimodal logistics need to be implemented in the transportation of project cargo, since roadways as a sole source for the transportation can lead to clutter. For this purpose, rail connectivity as well as inland waterways need to be developed further and implemented. Pre-planning is the crucial step that leads to efficient operations. Maintaining efficiency in such complex cargo operations eliminates risk and reduces cost. Successful project transportation practices require a smart planning process from the preliminary stages. This can have direct effect on avoiding extra costs for transportation, duties, and taxes. It requires expertise to provide a detailed projection of cost. Timely conceptualisation of the entire process of the proposed movement of project cargo, proper and detailed financial negotiations with the various agencies involved in the critical operation, technical expertise and experience of the concerned agencies in handling that particular type of cargo, careful and proactive steps in examining all aspects of the physical handling and transportation of odd-dimension cargo (in terms of its size and weight), use of proper type and mode of transport, planning for proper and safe loading and unloading, etc., are basic requirements for planning economical and safe movement of project cargo.
In case of a customised ERP involving development with a System Integrator (SI), most of the generic Sis have limited domain knowledge of logistics business, thus the cost of project will not only shoot up but also cause further delays in system rollout. Also, such developers have a high sourcing cost. Therefore, one needs to invest in a vendor who has an established product and has the inherent capability to enhance the solution based on industry needs. This is crucial in reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the LSP. However, a common dilemma faced by key project evaluation teams at leading global logistics service providers (LSPs) today is whether to customise their existing ERP for logistics business or to choose a best-of-breed and proven logistics solution which is readily available in the market. Each approach has its own merits and the best way to go about before taking this crucial decision is to look at the critical success factors (CSFs) that impact business. In evaluating an enterprise IT solution, apart from CSFs like project cost, implementation timeframes and risks related to vendor's capability, a project manager needs to also consider whether either of these IT options are aligned with the larger business goals.
Reducing Cost Overruns
Ship detention, idling of commissioning engineers, as well as late mobilisation or wrong mobilisation of heavy handling equipment can cause major cost overruns and these can be minimised by detailed planning and execution. If the risks are understood, information can be obtained to ensure they are dealt with properly. Ensuring all SOPs are clearly documented and understood will help reduce risks. Due to the potential shipping risks like natural disasters, accidents, theft, etc., insurance is available to cover costs. Before choosing a transportation carrier, examine the insurance terms to ensure losses are covered. Choosing well-known and reputable carriers, especially in break-bulk trade, is also important and helps minimise risk like diversion of service, damaging cargo during load/unload, etc.
Room for Improvement
Moreover, there is always room for improvement in project cargo transportation. Tracking the results of finished project cargo moves and developing potential improvement areas can help future shipments to produce better outcomes. India is at present poised at the threshold of a major upsurge in industrial and manufacturing activity in the country. With the planning for major investments in infrastructure and manufacturing projects, the activity of project cargo movement is also increased. Since attention to availability of facilities for movement of project cargo had not been given in the past, the availability of specialised transport, equipment, and experienced personnel for planning and handling of the odd-dimension cargo is not anywhere near what may be required in the future. We must provide for both equipment and personnel availability in the project cargo handling to meet the impending challenges. The current capacity is sufficient to meet the demand. Large projects are often undertaken by the government in core industries as well as the infrastructure segment. This will be possible only if we have a stable government. It is expected that in the next five years, the core sector projects, and infrastructure projects will receive a boost. The private sector often accounts only for smaller projects, and both these sectors are likely to improve.
Growth in the Logistics Sector
By way of introducing Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, our government is now focusing on providing us with a world-class road network, integrated rail corridors, modern cargo facilities in ports and at airports, and creation of logistics parks and inland waterways. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is also fast-tracking projects under Mission 300. The project logistics of tomorrow will be leaner, faster and most importantly, self-orchestrated. This unprecedented change of pace will be driven by a few radical technologies that will be cautiously adopted by industry participants over the next five to 10 years. These government policies will change the rules of the game to a great extent and there will be a level playing field for all the logistics players. Hence, a substantial growth in this segment is inevitable. There will be a 30 percent growth in project cargo logistics and Tiger Logistics is ready to be a part of this growth.