India’s Logistics Space Set to Outperform Global Benchmarks

Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India
Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India
Attractive investment opportunities looking at an Integrated and efficient solutions approach


India’s logistics sector was valued at US$ 160 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to US$ 215 billion by 2020. Today, almost 90% of cargo movement is handled by roadways and railways in the country. Globally, India has the 2nd largest road network and the 3rd largest rail network. It enjoys a 7,516 km long coastline and 18,000 km of inland waterways. Optimum use of major physical infrastructure, appropriate positioning of intermediate logistic frameworks, and seamless convergence of all stakeholders will help in achieving cost and time efficiency as well as minimization of in-transit losses, which is currently 40% of agriculture production. Over the last decade, the logistics sector has witnessed significant focus from Central and State governments to improve efficiency.

Key improvement initiatives kicked off with development of 5,846 km seamless road connectivity under the Golden Quadrilateral and proposal for dedicated rail corridor connectivity initiatives, such as 3,200 km Dedicated Freight Corridor (Western and Eastern). Central initiatives such as Bharatmala and Sagarmala with investment of US$ 220 billion, are some of the other major steps to integrate logistics infrastructure. In addition, the upcoming National Logistics Policy is likely to be another catalyst to boost the sector with multi modal connectivity, technology driven monitoring and standardization. To avail optimum use of this major infrastructure, hinterland logistics framework and facilities are essential and include the Multi Modal Logistics Park / Zone, SEZ and FTWZ, Warehouse, Industrial Zone/ Park, Container Freight Station/ Inland Container Depot, Private Freight Terminal and Cold storage/ chain facilities. The sector deserves more focus on reducing road dependency from 60% to the global average of 30%-40% in modal transport by creating more rail linked/multi modal hinterland logistics infrastructure.

JLL Blade

The logistics sector in India has seen extraordinary growth from 2010 to 2018. The overall warehousing stock in the top 8 cities in the country has increased by almost 3 times during the same period. We also see an increasing focus on Grade A warehousing developments in comparison to the Grade B developments, which were seen around 2010. We estimate that warehousing stock in the top 8 cities in India would reach 344 mn sq ft by 2022 from the earlier 169 mn sq ft in 2018.

Our report ‘“India: Evolution of Integrated Logistics – Aiming Transformation Through PAGI’ (published by JLL Industrial Services Research), provides stakeholders with not only a wholesome view of the past, but also an idea of what lies ahead from the policy as well as the real estate perspective. In addition, the report critically appraises the central and state logistics policies, which are likely to be the guiding factor behind the industry’s growth, going forward. We expect the sector to attract more investments in the near future, and we see promising times for hinterland logistics and specialised storage facilities.

  • India’s logistics Industry is one of the most widely spread sectors with multiple stakeholders
  • The country is pre-dominantly dependent on its road network, which has the highest ton per km cost. Against this, Rail and Waterways are cheaper modes of transportation
  • Creating the effective first and seamless last mile connectivity, availability of land, developing financially sustainable logistics infrastructure and utility, introducing investment friendly policy framework, and skill development, will make the sector more attractive for private capital for efficient integration of the industry
  • JLL Industrial Services has launched its Port, Airport and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) Practice

Yogesh Shevade, Head – Industrial Services, JLL India
Optimized use of roads is possible by building up enhanced hinterland infrastructure and specialized storage space across the country.
Yogesh Shevade, Head – Industrial Services, JLL India


According to the report by JLL, India’s logistics sector is one of the most widely spread in the country with multiple stakeholders; 60% of the transportation is through a strong road network against the global average of 30-40%. Optimized use of roads is possible by building up enhanced hinterland infrastructure and specialized storage space across the country. Warehouse, one of the prime elements of the industry, has become one of the most attractive real estate asset segments for domestic and foreign investors, and witnessed ~38 mn sq.ft. of absorption in 2019. According to the research paper, India is pre-dominantly dependent on roads for connecting production centers to warehouse and consumer:

The Central Government’s focus is on developing a comprehensive plan to invest in major infrastructures ports, airports and rail, among others, with an estimated investment outlay of about Rs. 100 lakh crore by the next five years. The initiatives, besides creating a platform for the hinterland infrastructure and other components of logistics, are gaining immense momentum for the investors.

As per the report, there is a need to further work towards integration to achieve cost efficiencies via specialization and consolidation of storage and modes of transport. The latter is meant for the logistics facilities, private freight terminals, dry ports (ICDs/ CFS), waterways terminals and specialized storage spaces like cold storage etc. The report also foresees rail linked logistics facilities focusing on multi modal connectivity as a major focus area for development.

India’s intermediate logistics frameworks is not a new phenomenon. Over the last 10 years, India’s road, rail, port, airport and inland waterway have added a new dimension in the growth story for the Government-sponsored Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Jal Marg Vikas Project, Railway station re-development etc, all of which are creating a huge platform for future expansion of the logistics infrastructure. Through the National Logistics Policy, the Central Government is focusing on development of a fully integrated logistics network with modern technology and automation.

JLL India

The report highlights the challenge of creating efficient last mile connectivity, availability of land to develop financially sustainable logistics infrastructure, capacity building for human resource, and investment friendly policy framework for attracting private capital and seamless compliance processes. It explores solutions for the integration of this complex dynamics of the sector for expanding seamless connectivity to manufacturing centers to consumption destinations. This optimization is possible by the utilization of optimum modal spilt, appropriate positioning of intermediate logistics frameworks, and seamless convergence of all stakeholders to achieve cost and time efficiency, as well as minimization of in-transit losses.

For exploring this sectoral opportunity, JLL Industrial Services has launched Port, Airport and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) Practice. Aligned with its global experience, the practice in India will aim at multi-dimensional service opportunity for our global and domestic clients.

Lifting & Specialized Transport, October-December 2019

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