The global logistics ecosystem has been disrupted from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions brought about by the pandemic affected manufacturing as well as the movement of cargo. Supply chains came crumbling down with uncertainties for which there was no playbook to refer from. Demand and supply patterns shifted dramatically, further adding to the disruptions in the system.
At such a time, the logistics suppliers kept the wheels spinning for economies to stay on track as much as possible. Maersk had all its vessels sailing, warehouses functioning, and ports operating. However, conditions remained foggy with wavering developments around the spread of the pandemic. One particular challenge that Maersk faced during this period in India was moving cargo on landside – from manufacturers facilities to the port for exports or vice versa for imports. Truck drivers had returned to their home towns in fear of the virus, and state border transport became a big hurdle with inconsistent rules being implemented across different states.
At the same time, teams within Maersk started focusing on understanding customer requirements and designing tailor-made solutions and moving cargo on rail instead of the road was one such solution. It had multiple benefits for the customers including quicker transit times, unhindered connectivity and lower carbon footprint.
Maersk developed 13 new weekly dedicated rail services of which some were based on the ‘assured transit’ concept on the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC). These rail services were designed in such a way that different industrial verticals were to be connected to the ports. Examples of these were the ‘Automotive Express’ running between the Northern Capital Region’s (NCR) automotive manufacturing hub and the port of APM Terminals Pipavav, Gujarat or the ‘Retail Express’ that ran on DFC to give assured transit time to lifestyle and apparels sector.
|Goa Express (x2)||Mormugoa||JNPT|
|Retail Express 1||Dadri||Mundra|
|Retail Express 2||Jodhpur||Pipavav|
|Automotive Express 1||Gurugram||Pipavav|
|Automotive Express 2||Waluj||JNPT|
|Garden city Express||Bengaluru||JNPT|
|Maersk Cross Country||Durgapur||JNPT|
Maersk became the pioneer of offering ‘assured transit times’ with its rail solutions to customers, which is expected to aid the rising demand for sectors such as eCommerce through dedicated services as it gives assured transit for time-sensitive cargo.
“Being committed to connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains meant we had to go beyond solutions that are on the menu card. We wanted to create exciting offerings that would delight our customers, especially in the tough pandemic situation that we have been operating in. Having flagged off 13 new services successfully over the year, Maersk is truly proud to have designed and implemented what customers needed. And it doesn’t end there – with the new environment-friendly rail services, in 2021 we reduced carbon footprint that is equivalent to the emissions from a car being driven for around 60,000 km.”Vikash Agarwal, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia
Maersk witnessed 43% growth in the movement of containerized export cargo on rail in 2021 and 23% growth on rail for import and export combined. They plan to develop further on the foundation of the rail solutions in 2022.
Rail has always been considered as a second alternative to road transport despite being safer and faster. Last year we have created 273 new corridors with rail as the backbone and connected our customers on this highly efficient mode of logistics all the way to their hubs of convenience. Having carried more than 50,000 containers (twenty feet equivalent units / TEUs) over and above the previous year and having covered 150,000 km, we are confident of building on this solution in the coming years too.”Jyoti Mitter, Rail Product Manager, Maersk South Asia.
A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 95,000 people.