E-com drives warehousing movement in tier II, III cities

We are improving new modes of transportation to become total logistics service provider by 2027. We launched environment-friendly initiatives and ‘Surface Express’ to enhance its distribution channel and to augment last-mile delivery, says Nikhil Agarwal, President, CJ Darcl Logistics.

Ritika Arora Bhola

After COVID, how important has it become for logistics firms to design the supply chains of the future, which are able to meet ever evolving customer requirements?

Keeping in mind the needs of the future, the firm advocates logistics to improve the flow of goods through efficient movement of goods. We use technologies such as transport management solutions, technology driven freight management, fleet centralization, connecting to customers through unified portal, data driven decision making and performance evaluation.

CJ Darcl Logistics has digitalized its operations with company-wide ERP-SAP, TMS and other pilot applications. Their  implementation has eased the flexibility and visibility of our operations. The company uses GPS and SIM based tracking systems to know the geographic location of the consignment to better serve its customers.

CJ Darcl offers a range of multimodal transport and warehousing services. What are the crucial areas of concerns/ challenges prevailing when it comes to the same?

One of the secrets of the company’s success is its efficient Asset Right Model. The company has a fleet of 800 owned heavy vehicles and 800,000 associated vehicles, which we believe, helps us in providing single window solutions to customers via door-to-door services. The 4,000-employee company has a pan-India network of more than 170 branches, covering road transportation across the country and extending to Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. It has a presence in the construction equipment business in South India mostly through multinational companies.

CJ Darcl Logistics has its multi-user warehousing facilities at various locations to achieve last-mile deliveries and to meet real-time deliveries by making them cost-effective and saving its turn-around time (TAT). The biggest challenge is poor infrastructure and lack of digitization. High fuel tariffs, traditional equipment usage also hampers the supply chain and make the logistics sector weak. Other challenges include shortage of drivers and other skilled personnel, warehousing and taxation discrepancies, slow transition into new technologies and intense competition from global players are hindering the growth of this sector.

Current Logistics market is drifting towards Environment Sustainability. What are the challenges for logistics industry in setting-up goal for carbon neutral?

India aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 45 per cent and become carbon neutral by 2030. In alignment to the government, the company commenced its multimodal connectivity by linking all modes of transportation under one umbrella to save fuel, turn-around time and for speedy deliveries. CJ Darcl is taking a step forward in promoting renewable energy by transporting solar panels to various locations. Transforming operations from road to rail is helping in less carbon emission. CJ Darcl is also planning towards the carbon sustainability by choosing alternative fueling methods as it conducted trial run by using 1 per cent biofuel, which reduced 30 per cent carbon emission.

Drawbacks in terms of challenges are lack of Infrastructure such as EVs can be used for short mile pick up and last-mile deliveries. As  per Indian infrastructure, it does have fewer charging stations therefore electric vehicles can only cover short range with 160 to 200 km/ charge. For large organization such as CJ Darcl, EVs cannot carry payload of 2 tons due to the battery load and are at least 3.5 times more expensive than conventional vehicles. In case of road, rails, short haul will require separate or special infrastructure for different deliveries.

They are more suited to NHs and straight routes, while mountain slopes and ghats are still a challenge. RTOs are unaware about the road-rail issues, which may occur on the interstate-borders. Also, hub and spoke infrastructure for the trailers needs to be established for enhancing efficiencies and lowering down the operational cost of logistics.

Last few years have witnessed a warehousing shift towards tier II and III cities. What are the major factors driving this demand?

CJ Darcl is currently catering to FMCG, Industrial, Retail and Automotive industries with holistic warehousing management—first mile delivery to middle mile delivery and last-mile delivery—hyper local delivery and in-plant logistics services, along with the support of intra-facility automation. We offer real-time deliveries which save TAT, fuel and avoid wastage of agro products. CJ Darcl has 12 major warehouses at top tier locations and has capabilities to lease or rent warehouses in other cities as per the client’s requirements.

The reason for the momentary shift of warehouses towards tier II and III cities is due to the boom of e-commerce market. Demand for e-commerce jamming strong in these cities and to achieve quick mile deliveries and other processes, warehouses are accommodating the growing expectations of the customers.

Could you explain what makes your company better than its competitors?
CJ Darcl Logistics has set a target of becoming the number one logistics service provider in India by 2027. The company hopes to achieve this by investing in adoption of technologies such as transport management solutions, technology driven freight management, digitization, connecting to customers through portals, data driven decision making and performance evaluation. CJ Darcl Logistics has invested heavily in technology therefore company has mostly computerized its ops with company-wide ERP-SAP whose implementation and flexible visibility options en-route the consignments, based on GPS and SIM-based tracking. The company has achieved a success rate of 99 per cent safe deliveries and 98.37 per cent on-time deliverable, making it the first choice of all leading companies in India across verticals. Its superior customized supply chain solutions, allows it to deliver best-in-class logistics services to different sectors such as iron and steel, oil and gas, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, consumer durables, infrastructure, textile, and chemicals.  As we have all the verticals, roadways, railways, coastal and airways, fleet centralization can help in linking up all the modes of transportation and be cost-effective.

What are the global best techniques and strategies you are planning to infuse into the firm’s ops for efficiency in business and network enhancement?

CJ Darcl’s success has been driven by an increased investment in infrastructure, last-mile connectivity, asset-right model which help the company to increase its network, achieve real transit times, avoids Damage, Excess, Pilferage and Shortage (DEPS) and fulfills all the services with the high safety standards, making it best-in-class technology, ensuring real-time visibility of consignments and end-to-end shipment. The warehousing and distribution management of CJ Darcl offers services such as shelf-life maintenance, product mixing, packaging, cross-docking, bar-code scanning, order-fulfillment, and other ancillary services.

According to demand specific characteristics, the products are stored in different types of warehouses such as climate-controlled, ambient, automated, fulfillment centers and distribution centers.

The company improves the accuracy and volume of throughput by providing emphasis to the layout for value-added services within its distribution centers. The company further designs the layout of the warehouse, the level of technology and automation required, and the process to be done, that is, based on the variety and volume of goods being processed.

The door-to-door ground distribution network of CJ Darcl backed with ace technology, offers our client- the facility of barcode, tagging and tracking their consignments and shipments, every step along the way – from dispatch to delivery. We also offer a live tracking option to follow the route map of the consignment, along with a dedicated customer portal for bulk orders and a dedicated fleet network maintained by our in-house, professional team. CJ Darcl adds an extra effort to achieve real transit time in the industry with high precision operations.

Please tell us about your recent innovations and developments and share with us your major expansion plans or projects in pipeline?

CJ Darcl Logistics is constantly innovating and improving new modes of transportation with the aim to become Total Logistics Service Provider by 2027. CJ Darcl Logistics recently launched ‘Surface Express’ to enhance its distribution channel and to provide last mile deliveries to its customers. Backed with ace technology, CJ Darcl Logistics offers the facility of barcode tagging and tracking their consignments and shipments, every step along the way – from dispatch to delivery.

Heading towards the technology, the company also offers a live tracking option to follow the route map of the consignment, along with a dedicated customer portal for bulk orders and a dedicated fleet network maintained by company’s in-house, professional team. In addition to this, CJ Darcl Logistics discovered new routes for faster deliveries and recently initiating the trial run from Kolkata port via Bangladesh to link Northeast by cutting the distance of 1,200 km.

The company operates in break-bulk movement between India and Bangladesh through barges, using the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route. The shipment via barges includes foodgrains (rice, wheat in bags) steel materials (sheet, pipes). The firm operates in multi-dimensional containers which allows the company to carry long products such as pipes, bars, dwarf containers for light weight cargo, openable containers for glass product movement and infusion of specialized containers as per client’s cargo suitability.