Global forwarder DB Schenker is positioning itself on the forefront of logistics offerings in India as the country puts a heavier focus on supply chain efficiency via trade reforms and digitization.
In an interview with JOC.com, Vishal Sharma, CEO of DB Schenker (India Subcontinent), said the German third-party logistics (3PL) provider plans to scale up its operations in the country by doubling its existing warehousing capacity of 3.5 million square feet over 53 locations, as well as deploying technological solutions capable of processing shipments at a quicker pace and providing shippers with real-time updates across the supply chain ecosystem.
Sharma said the region represents approximately 15 percent of DB Schenker’s global business, adding the company expects that to rise to 30 percent by 2025.
“India is a priority market for DB Schenker globally and with the growth spurt triggered by the implementation of [the Goods and Service Tax (GST)], we are well-poised to increase capacity and expand aggressively to better serve our customers,” Sharma said. “Focusing on a digital-first approach by providing ‘eSchenker’ services to customers which incorporates all transport modes in one portal, Schenker India is bringing transparency and visibility across the supply chain and reducing the efforts on track and trace.”
With the July 2017 rollout of GST — a single, unified indirect tax regime that removed the cascading effect of multiple taxes at national and state levels — the pace of India’s inland transportation has gained traction on the back of an integrated digital interface and improved truck mobility in the absence of notorious inter-state border checks.
"Post-GST, we have seen a tremendous opportunity in expanding our domestic logistics offerings through contract logistics and land transport,” Sharma said. “We are focused on specialized solutions for our different verticals with special focus on healthcare, electronics, and aerospace. Schenker India is bringing their latest global digital platforms like eSchenker and Connect 4.0 that allow [small- and medium-sized enterprise] customers to become more efficient in managing their businesses.”
Player in breakbulk market
Sharma also highlighted DB Schenker’s global expertise in handling complex breakbulk and heavy shipments, given that market has an upbeat outlook in India with the government’s accelerated domestic manufacturing and infrastructure development efforts. He said the company has a dedicated global team working around-the-clock for such specialized operations, covering every logistics aspect from planning to execution.
“From large mining equipment, generators, and engines for mega-vessels and power plants, to moving aircraft, vessels, platforms, and even giant wind blades for wind farms, DB Schenker has a strong pedigree globally for mega-projects,” Sharma said.
He also said DB Schenker has been proactive in adopting digital technologies to keep pace with ever-evolving industry demands and that its existing online platform eSchenker features track and trace capabilities meant to improve fluidity and transparency.
Commenting on the growth strategy, Sharma said the company has prioritized cross-border inland transport and contract logistics services to deepen its logistics value chain in the region.
The 3PL has embarked on a broader “Asia MNC” program by which it is able to leverage existing partnerships with multinationals across borders to expand reach and nurture global contracts.
To support its aspirations for expansion in the region, DB Schenker recently also opened a subsidiary unit in Bangladesh. The DB Schenker Indian network currently spans 37 offices across 34 locations and has more than 2,000 direct employees.
Bency Mathew can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.