At Rhenus, our focus is on achieving excellence in operations, sales, digitization, and human resources, while keeping customer centricity as the core of our business model, says Vivek Arya, Managing Director, Rhenus Logistics India, a leading integrated logistics solutions provider.
What are Rhenus’s national and international operations, and the areas it is providing integrated logistics support and solutions.
With 33,500 employees, Rhenus is one of the leading providers of integrated logistics services with business operations in more than 820 locations across 50 countries. In the last few years, Rhenus has expanded its footprint across all the continents spanning Australia, Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. We are a truly inter-continental organization with an appetite for growth and long-term investments for our customers.
Some of our value-added services include Overseas Warehousing, FTWZ, Control Tower, Global Service Center (to handle customs documentation & procedures), and Cross Border Trucking to SAARC nations, to name a few.
We also handle domestic and international project movements. Be it multi-modal transportation via flat bed, trailer, inland barge, deep sea vessel, truck rail or air charter, or the complex customs clearance procedures; we are well equipped to handle them all through our in-house services. We believe in a solution-driven approach to meet customer requirements.
What services and solutions are being provided by Rhenus Logistics India?
Rhenus Logistics is a joint venture with the Western Arya Group which has been in this business for over six decades. Rhenus grew from a trucking company to an Integrated Logistics Solution & Service Provider, and after a successful partnership with Western Arya for five years, we formed a JV in 2010. Our Indian operations are spread across 70 locations with 2000 employees.
The Indian arm of Rhenus Logistics is offering world-class services customized to suit every customer’s needs, along with real-time, end-to-end visibility throughout the supply chain. As a solution-driven organization, it is providing a range of services that include Air & Ocean, Customs Clearance, Domestic and International Trucking, and Warehousing - all under one roof.
We are particularly strong in segments like Chemicals & Petro-Chemicals, Automotive & Engineering, Pharma & Healthcare, to name a few. We are also the industry’s frontrunner in obtaining various certifications and we follow international standards of EHS
What is the scope of India’s logistics sector and what enabling business milieu is needed to grow the sector?
Logistics in India has a very bright future as there is a lot of potential for growth and a lot to be achieved, unlike logistics in developed countries like USA, Germany, and Japan, which have reached their peak in logistics management.
However, we need to create efficiencies within the system in order to have a world-class supply chain. While having the lowest cost for each component of the logistics chain, India has one of the highest ‘total costs’ to deliver. Taking an integrated approach and using technology will help India achieve the target of lowering its logistics costs.
Businesses need to think of costs from a total cost perspective, rather than purchasing each component of logistics individually. Logistics service providers need to move from operational to strategic engagements. In the digital world, Freight is a mere Commodity while Services will swing customer preferences.
In India, the need is Integrated End-to-End Logistics Solutions. This would encompass integrated infrastructure / assets platform, integrated services platform, and integrated digital platform. Such initiatives will pave the way towards consolidation, process standardization, technological upgradation, and digital transformation.
How do you think Multi-Modal Transportation and setting up of Multi-Modal Logistics Parks will propel India’s logistics efficiency to newer heights?
The Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, for instance, aims to provide integrated and seamless connectivity for movement of people, goods, and services from one mode of transport to another. It will facilitate last-mile connectivity of infrastructure and reduce travel time for people.
The Multi-Modal Logistics Parks will save cost through economies of scale and growth, reduce transit time and processing time, optimally use all modes of transport, thus reducing overall logistics cost.
There is a lot of potential for growth of India’s Logistics Sector, but we need to create efficiencies to have a world-class supply chain; we need integrated end-to-end logistics solutions which will pave the way for consolidation, standardization, technological upgradation, and digital transformation.
For the success of Logistics Parks in India, the approach should be to take on ports as partners by linking a port to 2 or 3 Logistics Parks. This will provide economies of scale and the possibility of using domestic coastal shipping and inland waterways. These multi-modal parks will improve the country’s logistics sector by lowering overall freight costs, reducing vehicular pollution and congestion, and cutting warehousing costs. Setting up of such parks will reduce human touchpoints by making way for automation and highly compliant processes.
What benefits will accrue from the much-awaited National Logistics Policy and the National Warehousing Policy?
The National Logistics Policy aims at reducing logistics cost, which is quite high in India compared to other nations. This policy will strengthen the infrastructure and bring in better efficiencies in the coming years. Larger footprints will lead to higher levels of standardization, mechanization, automation, and implementation of the latest technologies to derive economies of scale.
India has a per capita warehousing stock of just 0.02 sqm as compared to 4 sqm, 0.8 sqm and 1.09 sqm of USA, China, and UK, respectively. This presents huge opportunities for the setting up of industrial parks and multi-modal logistics parks across the country.
How well-equipped is your company to transport temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals in India?
A robust infrastructure, technology adaption, and an experienced team puts us in a strong and proactive position to service the critical requirements of the pharmaceutical companies. Be it temperature-controlled warehousing, first mile or international transportation or last mile distribution requirements, we are well equipped to handle them.
With our strategically located state-of-the-art warehouses across India, our strong transportation network, and a highly experienced team, Rhenus India has been catering to requirements like procuring oxygen concentrators, warehousing, last mile deliveries of PPEs and medical supplies across India, air chartering of medical supplies, cold storage, etc. since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Globally, Rhenus has enhanced its pharma capabilities and has created a niche vertical to support customers on a global basis.
For the cold chain supply system to grow in India, both the service users and the providers will need to have a long-term view on investments; only a strategic partnership will make the environment conducive for investments required in this sector.
How are disruptive technologies like IoT, Big Data, and AI bringing more efficiency, productivity, and accountability in your services?
We understand the importance of Data & Digital excellence in the Supply Chain Industry. We also understand how important it is for our customers to have end-to-end visibility, along with accurate data points to take timely and data-driven decisions. Our SCS (Supply Chain Solution) team works with several proprietary as well as third party tools in a cloud environment and makes use of Big Data available across the entire ecosystem and transforms it to actionable insights with the help of AI.
What are the company’s plans to set up a network of warehouses pan-India?
Currently, Rhenus India has 31 fully compliant and certified warehouses strategically located across India with 2.4 million sq.ft. of warehousing space. These include both dedicated and multi-user facilities. All our warehouses follow the international standard of EHS. Our storage solutions include heavy-duty selective pallet racking system for customized storage, shelving systems for smaller / spare parts, and automated vertical lean storage system for safe and optimized storage of products, and temperature controlled / cold room storage facilities.
Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and Big Data have proved to be very helpful across all the value streams of supply chain, be it automating time-consuming tasks, predictive analysis, optimization, remote monitoring, or warehouse automation etc.
Our IT systems (Track & Trace, GPS, IoT Sensors, Warehouse Management System with an EDI connectivity) enable complete visibility. The Rhenus Warehouse Management System covers the whole spectrum of warehousing operations - both inbound, outbound, inventory control and management, and yard management. Our systems provide customers visibility of all our warehouse activities and the ability to keep track of their inventory on real-time basis.
Rhenus India is also willing to making investments in automation and robotics as per the long-term requirements of our customers.
Our upcoming multi-user chemical warehouse in Gurugram is equipped to handle 18000 pallet positions for hazardous chemicals; it also (exclusively) provides block space for flammable chemicals. These facilities are CCOE-approved and have the consent of the Pollution Control Board to establish and operate. We’ve also reduced our carbon footprint by being environmentally conscious.
What other plans does the company have in the pipeline?
We will soon be launching our fifth business unit, Supply Chain Solutions, of ILS / 4 PL, and new products will be introduced in all the four business units. We will invest in ‘sustainability’ and set high international standards of HSE. The launch of a carbon neutral LCL product and exploring electric vehicles in our trucking business will be some of our initiatives.
Rhenus India will continue to invest in people, resources, and infrastructure. We are a net debt-free company. Digital Excellence, HR excellence and Customer Centricity will be the pillars of our future growth. We will focus on providing integrated solutions to our customers and integrate our services forward and backward as per customer needs.