The traditional freight forwarding industry of India is at the cusp of transformation. India’s Digital Freight Forwarding Market is Estimated at USD 311.48 Mn in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 925.36 Mn by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 24.33%. The evolving industry, largely driven by technology and infrastructural developments and various government policy reforms, is also taking the next step piggybacking the young startups of the nation. One such startup is WeFreight – a fast-growing freight forwarder incepted in 2019 and has amassed a global network since then. The company aims to become an agile leader in emerging markets serving customers with its digital ecosystem, and customer-centric approach. In this exclusive interview, Sateshwar Tuteja, Regional Managing DirectorIndia & APAC, WeFreight talks to us about the challenges of the segment, the role of technology in bringing efficiency, the importance of skilled individuals in the segment along with highlighting the company’s USP, its expansion plans and more.
Indian freight forwarding segment is going through some drastic changes. What are some of the prominent challenges for the segment at the moment? How is WeFreight dealing with these challenges?
I would say that the Indian freight forwarding industry, along with 3PL and 4PL providers, is on the cusp of major transformation. The current market has been the most volatile since the beginning of the containerized business. Some very evident challenges include:
1. Market Disruption through new entrants
2. Mergers & Acquisitions of large 3PLs.
4. Unstable freight market.
At WeFreight we are ensuring that we are focusing and investing in customer experience and on what matters to them, along with our employees (our real assets). We live in an experiential economy and customer experience is at the centre of all that we do. Behind the scenes, we are partners with prime/leading carriers and our relationships with them ensure that we get predictable transit times and costs. We are also opening offices in new locations so that we can be closer to customers and to the market, which makes us available at key locations.
Our aim is to provide best in class and state of the art facility, across India. Every kind of solution in logistics will only add to the overall growth of the country and that’s what we aim to do with Bobba Logistics.
Q] The pandemic brought about a wave of change that flipped the outlook of everyone regarding technology and its application. What all technologies are you deploying to transform your operations and most importantly how are you bringing it all together to work as a harmonious ecosystem?
This question helps to explain how COVID has made everyone accept the adoption and usage of technology in many different ways. Freight Forwarding has been a traditional industry, most of the transactions until recently required some kind of exchange of paperwork. But the pandemic taught us that we all have been just making excuses to not accept and embrace technology, which was
the most obvious thing to do in all these years. Technology enables us to be closer to customers, more responsive, and act differently when needed.
We at WeFreight are building a digital ecosystem, which can transform our customer touch points but it all can work only if all our internal processes are digitalized and what our major current focus has been and will continue to be. We feel that is something that is missing in our industry, and WeFreight is looking to pioneer this model. As I said before, our industry is very old-fashioned and we look at competing with other LSPs, whereas when it comes to digitalization we must look beyond the horizon and understand that we are being compared with the likes of Amazon and Google. At the end of the day, we need mindset change and the rest will follow!
What distinguishes WeFreight from other freight forwarders out there?
I think our offerings across the competitors are very homogenous. WeFreight is different from other freight forwarders because we place a very high value on our people, and we believe that we can retain and grow our customers if we can retain and grow our employees. We invest in our people and return, they are walking “billboards” of WeFreight. Some examples are we encourage our team members to work from home twice per week now, offer flexi hours, have a recreational area in the office, and encourage open and transparent communication, to name a few. We are ensuring that we have a very engaging environment, which includes regular management dialogue with every single team member who joins us, quarterly management town halls, regular HR connects, and the global town hall where colleagues can interact and ask questions of our global management team. I ensure that I interact with respective teams wherever I am visiting and this helps me understand how can we do better!
This is an abridged version of the original interview which was published in the October edition of the Logistics Insider magazine. To read the complete interview, click here.