Placing Innovation and Sustainability Above All: In conversation with Devinder Singh, Director, Seros Logistics

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As a company entrusted with providing logistics support to manufacturing units and project sites across the world, Seros Logistics has emerged as a victor in keeping operations running during the pandemic, along with keeping its employees at the core, even in the most harrowing times. A veteran with more than five decades of experience, Devinder Singh, Director, Seros Logistics, offers his take and pearls of wisdom on the current crisis, on how Seros has managed to keep up with the industry and on which road it plans to take ahead.

As a company that has a marked presence across the country, what are some of the Innovative solutions that Seros Logistics utilises for complex cargo movements of diverse industries?

Transportation and logistics is, at present, confronting immense change. And like every change, this has brought forth both risks and opportunities. Seros is applying innovative solutions in its logistics activities, which typically includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, material handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory control and supply and demand planning. Also, we are continuously innovating by converting our fleet of Heavy Duty vehicles to alternate fuels like CNG, LNG, electric from conventional fuels.

The need for a greener and sustainable future is being realised across the industries like never before. In terms of the alternate energy resources market, how are you looking to grow and expand it and what are your goals for the future?

The main thrust Seros is aiming to use is the available alternate energy which has a lower carbon footprint than the conventional fuels in use, at present. That will achieve a greener future albeit not totally carbon footprint- free. However, with lower prices and increase in demand for natural gas and CNG (which we are tapping into as our alternate fuel) and LNG, which is much lower in price than the conventional fuels.  With more and more equipment and logistics transportation going towards CNG and LNG, there will be a reduction in the carbon footprint. With the increased reliance on alternate energy, our consumers can get the price benefit with the government support.

The problem right now with LNG and CNG is that the infrastructure is in its infancy. On the transportation front, the infrastructure still is way behind, which needs to be increased. This is the main trust that we as Seros are pushing for, and are already looking to put up at least about 10 Satellite stations along the golden quadrilateral highway so that businesses will start converting their conventional fuel truck, buses etc. to CNG and LNG. Orders have already been placed, and we are expecting the satellite station to be delivered by June21, enabling dispensation of CNG & RLNG.

As a company that handles 8 Million tonnes of diversified cargo every year through Road and Rail, what are the top challenges that you face in pulling off such an enormous feat?

Challenges are always there. More the challenges, more are the initiatives and innovations that we have to take up. The key to the challenges is cutting down on the transportation,handling costs, which needs to be done immediately and also, tweaking the full chain of the logistics door-to-door operations.

Perhaps the most important and challenging concern is the need for greater innovations, technologies and advancements while remaining budget conscious. Apart from transportation costs, there are few other challenges like new technologies, new market entrants, new customer expectations and new business models. Innovation has to be there; one has to plan and foresee the supply chain.

As someone who has been associated with landmark projects  across the globe, in your opinion, how far ahead is India in terms of standing up to global competition in the logistics and warehousing space?

The Indian Logistics sector is on an upward trend in all the states and it has to grow with the production cycle, with the COVID pandemic getting under control.

According to the Domestic ratings Agency ICRA, India’s logistics sector is expected to grow at a rate of 8-10% over the medium term. In the last couple of years, there has been significant development of this industry which is reflected in the global rankings. At present, we stand at 44 out of 160 countries on the LPI Rankings (Logistics Performance Index). It is quite impressive that we are in that place; going forward, strategic investment and government initiatives to support the sector are going to be crucial.

The government has to support the sector strongly otherwise we shall be in real problem. Growth supported by government reforms in the transportation sector, development planning, sales, the e-commerce sectors and necessary clearances for use & sale of CNG & RLNG are likely to be key drivers of the logistics industry in India. If the cards are played right, this sector has the potential to create a huge number of jobs for the citizens and play a key role in driving the economy on a highway, which in turn will attract foreign investment.

This is an abridged version. To read the full interview,click here.

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