In an exclusive interview with Nikhil Agarwal, President of CJ Darcl Logistics Ltd., we delve into the company’s pivotal role in driving the logistics sector’s growth amidst India’s evolving needs and anticipated GDP growth.

What role does CJ Darcl Logistics see itself playing in the growth of the logistics sector in India, particularly with the expected GDP growth and the evolving needs of the construction and infrastructure industry?

With the introduction of the interim budget for 2024, the logistics sector has experienced a positive boost towards transformation and growth. The government’s aim to launch three major economic railway corridors, namely energy, mineral, cement, port connectivity, and high-traffic density corridors, brings forward improved logistics efficiency and reduced costs. With an 11.1% increase in infrastructure allocation to 11.11 lakh crore, we observe a shift in the logistics sector’s focus towards infrastructure development, emphasising upgraded roads, plans to double the number of airports and advancements in railroad systems.

CJ DARCL Logistics contributes to multimodal solutions with its pan-India network. The market portfolio of over 8lacs (hired/leased) and 990 trucks leverages the company in establishing its niche in the logistics market. For infrastructure projects such as highways, ports, and DFCs, CJ Darcl has enabled swifter deliveries, ensuring that critical equipment such as steel, power, oil and gas, petrochemicals, and construction materials reach their destinations on time. The company’s presence in the construction equipment business in South India is particularly through collaborations with MNCs, making it a leader in handling high-value, specialised, and critical equipment. Recognising India’s infrastructure developments, CJ Darcl aligns with connectivity improvements, port modernisation, and modern warehousing. These advancements bolster our end-to-end logistics solutions, ensuring rapid and reliable services across industries.

With the government’s initiatives like the Gati Shakti Scheme and National Logistics Policy, how is CJ Darcl aligning its services with the changing dynamics of the logistics industry?

Gati Shakti and NLP are introduced as an approach for integrating the development of logistics infrastructure and bringing seamlessness in the logistics industry across different modes of transportation. As the policy is implemented, we are looking at enhancing infrastructure capacity and focusing on digitising and developing human resources. Higher speed is attained with enhanced capacity under lesser transit time and better service delivery. Thus increasing efficiency and saving logistics costs.

CJ Darcl Logistics sees this policy as a boon for the Indian logistics industry as it will build a resilient logistics ecosystem in the country, improve efficiency by innovating new routes, discover the modes of transportation and build sustainable infrastructure, as a result, reduce the cost of logistics thereby, privilege the end customers. 

CJ Darcl is aligned with the government’s initiatives by integrating technology and digitisation. The company has optimised its SCM with several tools such as TMS for tracing and tracking, ERP-SAP for accounting and invoicing, GPS for real-time tracking and other pilot applications contributing to the efficient functioning of the supply chain management. CJ Darcl is constantly seeking new ways to improve operational efficiencies to provide cost-effective transportation solutions to its customers.

How does CJ Darcl plan to incorporate sustainable practices into its fleet management?

Sustainability is a core focus at CJ DARCL Logistics. CJ Darcl invests in technology that optimises end-to-end solutions as a total logistics solutions provider. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we’ve expanded our business model from roadways to railways, moving over 40 rakes monthly and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Our company’s multimodal transportation services cover road, rail, coastal, and air, focusing on operational and environmental sustainability. We are looking forward to exploring alternative fuel options for both short- and long-haul cargo deliveries by working on several projects to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. As a part of a greener tomorrow, we took a significant step by piloting our first electric vehicle for intra-city cargo movement for one of our eminent clients.

CJ DARCL Logistics initiatives reflect their dedication towards environmentally responsible practices. As our multimodal transportation model goes beyond traditional logistics – it meticulously analyses route maps to discover efficient and environmentally beneficial paths for transportation.

Could you elaborate on CJ Darcl’s procurement strategies, particularly regarding acquiring trucks and vehicles for logistics operations?

CJ Darcl follows an ‘asset-right’ business model, owning or sourcing vital assets like commercial vehicles, multi-axles, and containers through an extensive partner network. Our tech-driven approach facilitates tailored logistics solutions for diverse industries. Renowned in Full Truck Load (FTL) operations, Our owned fleet includes over 990 commercial vehicles, diverse equipment, three containerised rakes (40 wagons each), and over 1,300 containers. This also positions CJ Darcl’s access to a large vehicle network, enabling it to scale its business as the demand increases and cater to large business opportunities.

CJ DARCL’s project team has developed different capabilities to undertake and execute turnkey logistics for project cargo as they allocate specialised machinery, vehicles and containers to support all types of cargo, including general, Over-Dimensional Consignment (ODC) and Over- Weight (OW)/heavy lift consignments. We have ventured into project logistics with cargo handling and transporting high-value, specialised and critical equipment. It includes steel, power (hydro, gas, thermal & solar), Oil and Gas, as well as petrochemicals, cement, infrastructure for highways and state roads, ports, metros, dedicated freight corridors, bullet train tracks, oil field equipment such as rigs, etc. across India – utilising multiple modes of transport.

Moreover, as a part of 1300+ containers, we have them specially designed and constructed for various needs, which include operating in multi-dimensional containers, allowing the company to carry long products such as pipes, bars, dwarf containers for lightweight cargo, openable containers for glass product movement and infusion of specialised containers as per client’s cargo suitability.

How has CJ Darcl responded to government initiatives such as Bharatmala Pariyojana and Sagarmala in the logistics and transportation sector?

The government’s futuristic initiatives, like Bharatmala, aim for road connectivity across the country, while the Sagarmala Project aims to develop modernised ports along the coastline. These two significant government initiatives will encourage the country’s overall infrastructural development.

The road and port developments are set to facilitate CJ Darcl’s expansion of its supply chain network. Implementing multimodal route optimisation is anticipated to result in efficient and punctual deliveries while minimising costs. Moreover, CJ Darcl successfully conducted a coastal movement along the Indo-Bangladesh route, incorporating multimodal transportation methods. This strategic move has allowed the company to reduce the road distance by a significant amount of time.

What are your thoughts on the current union budget?

In response to Budget 2024, CJ Darcl commends the Finance Minister’s visionary steps for India’s logistics sector. The announcement of railway economic corridors, a key component of PM Gati Shakti, significantly enhances connectivity and reduces logistics costs. Paired with dedicated freight corridors, these initiatives are poised to accelerate India’s GDP growth.

The impactful role of GST in doubling collections in FY24, reducing logistics costs, and streamlining the supply chain is acknowledged.

While appreciating these transformative initiatives, we anticipated comprehensive policies on alternative fuelling and incentivising sustainable methods. The government’s optimism about expanding electric vehicle infrastructure aligns with our goals.

We eagerly look forward to collaborating with the government to establish a resilient, transparent, technologically advanced logistics ecosystem. This collaboration aims to position India as a global logistics powerhouse, further strengthening the sector in the upcoming July 2024 budget. 

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