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Issue #269

25 May - 29 May 2020


Freight and logistic business inching back to normalcy

The prolonged lockdown had cast a shadow on the freight and the logistics business in India. There was large scale disruption in the supply chain aspects. Though essential goods and FMCG were moving despite the lockdown, the supply chain of non-essential goods and other items had taken a hit due to the restrictions. However, this is also gradually inching back to normalcy now. Though the complete normalisation of businesses is expected to take another month or so, the positive sign is that almost 50 per cent of the total capacity has already been achieved. This is gradually inching back towards normalcy as a number of truck drivers, who had left for their villages during the lockdown, have begun returning to their work.

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Snowman Logistics: Delivering Leading Cold Chain Logistics

FedEx Corp. and Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a new multiyear collaboration to help transform commerce by combining the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud. Together, FedEx and Microsoft aim to create opportunities for their customers through multiple joint offerings powered by Azure and Dynamics 365 that will use data and analytics solutions to reinvent the most critical aspects of the commerce experience and enable businesses to better compete in today’s increasingly digital landscape.The company has temperature controlled warehouses set up adjacent to cities with significant potential for sourcing and consumption of temperature sensitive products and materials, such as foods and beverages for grocery stores. With a capacity of 107,200 pallets, and 293 trucks making up its fleet, Snowman Logistics boasts the best-in-class infrastructure in the region, living up to the claim as India’s leading cold chain logistics provider. Snowman Logistics has also recorded almost $100mn USD in investments into its infrastructure. Keeping all of this going is the 1500 strong workforce, employed across 33 strategically located warehouses throughout the country.

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Moment in the sun: Agritech startups are helping farmers thrive during Covid-19 lockdown

The months from March to June every year experience the onset of the spring season with multicolor flowers blooming in the trees, freshly-grown fruits turning ripe and rabi crops ready to be harvested. However, the spring season this year has not been very colorful. The nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus has resulted in acres of farmers’ produce left to rot or sold at dirt cheap prices- Rs 3 per kg for onions in Maharashtra’s Lasalgaon mandi. Transport constraints, labour shortage and limited market access, with almost no buyers, is deeply hurting the farmers in India. Even though the government has lifted certain restrictions in order to ease the operations in the agriculture industry, the farming community is still striving to cover the losses.

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Soaring freight charges throw a spanner in works for auto firms

Even as the government eases restrictions on industrial activity in a graded manner under Lockdown 4.0, migrant workers' return to their homes has exacerbated the trouble for the transport industry. Trucks are stranded at warehouses, and the level of idle trucks or the vehicles currently not in use is now close to 70 percent, sources told CNBC-TV18. The scarcity has also led to freight rates shooting up in the range of 15 percent-20 percent currently, which are expected to increase to 25 percent-50 percent in the coming weeks, if the shortage is not addressed soon.Inflated freight costs are acting as a spanner in the works for automakers and their parts suppliers as they start to reopen factories after a two-month halt due to the countrywide lockdown. Truck fleet operators are charging a premium of 30-40% for transporting finished vehicles, parts as well as raw materials across routes connecting industrial zones and ports, said five industry officials. The cost of transporting goods is very high right now as transporters are charging premium freight. They say that they are offering more salaries to the truck drivers to get them back to work but drivers remain insecure about job stability and health risks.

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