International freight giant Maersk has decided to fortify its rail solutions for its customers, including some of India’s largest petrochemical companies and automotive manufacturers to help them move their cargo to ports for export. The solution included moving goods straight from the exporters’ manufacturing facilities on rail to the required port or moving the cargo first to the closest Inland Container Depot by road and then loading it on to rail.
During the lockdown, Maersk has experienced up to 30% increase in movement on rail as compared to times prior to lockdown. Clearance of import cargo on rail from ports has also helped in releasing a lot of pressure that was building up on the overall logistics infrastructure.
The advantages of moving cargo on rail have been more than just overcoming the unavailability of road transport. To start with, the movement on rail is quicker. The reliability offered by rail transport is also higher. From the perspective of the customers, they get most of their logistics needs fulfilled through the combined ocean and landside transportation modes. Moreover, in the times of pandemic, it ensures lesser human interference as a single train carries multiple containers as against one container per truck and thus per truck driver.
“At Maersk, we want to go all the way in ensuring that our customers have access to products and solutions that meet their end-to-end supply chains. What we have offered to our customers is an integrated solution that spans over landside and ocean logistics.”~Steve Felder – Managing Director, Maersk South Asia
He further added, “At times when customers are hitting a road block, we are reaching out to them to offer wide range of solutions that go beyond the primaries of moving cargo, and also offering other services such as booking management and customs house brokerage.”
Apart from offering solutions for landside movement of cargo, the company has also rolled out plenty of digital measures that have helped its customers release payments electronically and undertake digital documentation. Customers now had storage options for slowing down their supply chains wherever necessary.
The Indian logistics ecosystem has been reeling under the COVID-19 crisis owing to the imposed lockdown and supply chain disruptions brought about by problems plaguing the truck ecosystem, resulting in acute shortage of trucks in lockdown. The new move will prove fruitful in overcoming the limitations and unavailability of road transport.