Coronavirus crisis seen as expediting digitalisation push

April 09 , 2020
Publication: Lloy'd List
Source: https://bit.ly/2yR8On1

Allcargo, India's flrst multinational company in the logistics sector, is to increase focus on digitalisation. It expects this to be a common trend among companies that will emerge stronger out of the coronavirus crisis. The virus is sure to spur greater interest in adapting digital solutions, according to Allcargo Logistics chairman and founder Shashi Kiran Shetty. 

SHETTY: “WE SEE THIS MOVE TO DIGITALISATION EMERGING AS THE NEW NORMAL, AND WE ARE GEARING UP TO LEVERAGE IT TO ITS FULL POTENTIAL.”

THERE is no doubt that the maritime and logistics industry was undergoing a transformation even before the coronavirus outbreak struck. But the pandemic is sure to spur greater interest in adapting digital solutions, according to Allcargo Logistics chairman and founder Shashi Kiran Shetty.

In an interview with Lloyd’s List, Mr Shetty said that optimising operations digitally and relying on flexible and scalable business continuity and contingency plans seem to be the best way ahead for stakeholders in the logistics industry in near future.

“The company is taking this opportunity to increase focus on digitisation now more than ever and we expect this to be a common trend among companies that will emerge stronger out of this crisis.”

Allcargo, which started as a cargo handling operator at Mumbai port, is now one of the world’s leading less- than-container load consolidators, packaging cargoes insufficient for standard containers.

LCL companies such as Allcargo book container berths with shipping companies and resell the space in smaller quantities to consumers at a profit.

“We have intensified efforts to keep customers’ businesses moving by adapting digital tools and technology like our state-of-the-art platform, ECU360,” Mr Shetty said. “In addition, we are also making e-bills of lading, e-delivery order and e-payment facilities available to customers, so business processes continue uninterrupted and efficiently.

“Our team members too have been enabled to work remotely from their homes and stay connected to provide customers with any assistance they need.”

Mr Shetty said a key thrust of the digital initiatives has been to be customer-centric and offer customers the independence and flexibility they need to keep their business moving.

He cited the example of ECU360, with which customers can get instant quotations, add all their shipping details, get door-to-door rates for over 40 countries and book and manage cargo transportation in a simple, convenient way.

“It helps them save time, improve productivity and reduces the need for a slew of paperwork and multiple calls and emails,” he said.

“Going forward, we see this move to digitalisation emerging as the new normal, and we are gearing up to leverage it to its full potential.”

Lockdown challenges

The supply chain management business in India has been temporarily disrupted by the current lockdown, Mr Shetty said.

“There are challenges on deliveries at the moment,” he said, adding that the logistics industry had been hit by the closure of businesses under lockdown as well as the disruption in transportation caused by a shortage of drivers.

“However, our LCL volumes are largely unaffected and we do not see this as a threat to LCL business,” he acknowledged. “Project forwarding is being done for cargoes, which have been en route, but largely the operations have been temporarily paused in line with the lockdown.”

 

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