Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task: Raghav Himatsingka
Port Wings News Network:
Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge, Mr.Raghav Himatsingka, Director, Ideal Movers Pvt Ltd, has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Raghav said, “We need experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment.”
Q. Tell us about the background of Ideal Movers, its growth over the years?
Mr.Raghav Himatsingka: Ideal Group started in the year 1982 in Kolkata. Ideal Movers – the logistics arm of the group – was started in the year 2000 with only 10 trucks. In 15 years’ time, we have expanded into a wide range of logistics solutions with more than 40 offices across India and a global agency network in all major countries. We today own close to 2000 vehicles, 70 heavy lift cranes, Goldhofer hydraulic axles, forklifts, excavators, etc. and are the preferred logistics partners of the largest corporates in the country including the Tata Group, Reliance, Essar Group, Adani, Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Jindal Group, Posco, Vedanta Group, etc.
Q. What is Ideal Movers’ USP to attract EXIM trade in East and West Coast?
RH: Ideal has several strong reasons why clients prefer to work with them. Firstly, we have a large fleet of vehicles and equipment with a pan-India presence. Secondly, we have a large global network of partners. These two factors allow us to offer our clients door-to-door solutions from anywhere in India to anywhere globally and vice versa. We have a solid reputation for maintaining our commitment with the largest corporates in the country and lastly we have a supremely talented team comprising of the best logistics professionals in the industry.
Q. Tell us about the ongoing upgradation projects in Ideal Movers to meet the growing demand in Ocean Freight segment?
RH: Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment. Since it is an asset light business for logistics players like us, the differentiation is usually in assembling the best team who can carry out the job. We are currently expanding our team and we also make sure to train our people from time to time so that they are aware of the latest trends in the industry.
Q. Ocean Freight has been the important segment in logistics chain. How do you see the prospects of Ideal Movers in the segment?
RH: We are very confident of becoming the market leaders in the segment in the time to come just like the way we are the market leaders in all our other service offerings: road transportation, heavy lifts and projects transportation.
Q. Since your focus is solely on heavy and odd-shaped cargo as well as break bulk cargo, how do you see the opportunity in the segment?
RH: We expect this segment to grow rapidly in the near future. With a stable government that appears to be keen to increase infrastructure investments in the country, we should see huge projects being imported in the country in the next few years. On the exports side Prime Minister Modi’s government has a tremendous push for Make In India which should help increase the cargo going out of the country as well.
Q. Movement of ODC cargo is often termed as a herculean task based on its size. What is your expectation from ports in easing out the task?
RH: We don’t know whether much can be done about it. Most large ports in India are extremely congested which lead to higher shipping costs due to detention of ships berthing there. India is blessed with a long coastline on half of its border so it is unfortunate that we don’t have better port facilities in the country. There are a few private ports coming in; if the ship traffic and facilities at these ports become better, they could potentially be game changers in the sector.
Q. Tell us about the future plans of Ideal Movers?
RH: We are bullish about industrial growth in the next few years and we will continue to invest and expand in all our service offerings.
Q. Ideal Movers is a seasoned one in logistics sector in the country. What are the challenged the logistics sector faces nowadays?
RH: The biggest challenges today in the logistics sector are liquidity of cash, driver availability, increasing toll taxes and harassment of our drivers by various entities on the road. We talk of wanting to become a world-class developed nation but we are probably amongst the bottom of the list in logistics. Unless some of these fundamental issues are solved, we will struggle to achieve the growth that we hope to achieve since the logistics sector contributes almost 15% to our total GDP.
Q.Do you agree with the notion that there is a dearth of skilled drivers in the country?
RH: There is a severe dearth of drivers in the country because few people are keen on becoming a driver in today’s time. Primary reasons for the same are the rising alternate job opportunities, the extreme risk to life and health of the driver while on job, lack of respect in society for the driver community and the extreme living conditions of the driver away from home and family.
Q. In your view, how come we overcome the drivers’ shortage?
RH: This is a very difficult task. We need to encourage more people to become drivers. Governments and large manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland should lead the way by opening mass scale driver training schools for truckers. This will make the driver job aspirational as well as reduce safety hazards on the roads in general. Toll taxes should be automated/reduced and unwanted elements that harass drivers on the roads should be removed. This will reduce the cash transactions required en-route thus reducing the chances of burglary on the road. Today commercial vehicle driving is a 365 days, 24×7 job that it need not be. The drivers should be able to work from hub to hub handing off the vehicle to the next driver just like a relay. Drivers can have proper resting places at these hubs and they can spend every alternate day with their families. This is only possible however if the government does away with its one-chassis-one-trolley rule. Incidentally, these things are all already working in developed countries where driving is as respectable a job as any other if not more.