The Evolving Landscape – Predictions for Indian Logistics in 2024 By Mr. Darshan Ghodawat, CEO and Managing Director, AVA Global Logistics LLP

In the bustling corridors of India’s economic trajectory, the logistics sector stands as a linchpin, poised to wield transformative influence in the unfolding narrative of 2024. As the nation endeavours to ascend to a $5 trillion GDP by 2025, the logistics industry will be the powerhouse that fuels growth, catalysing a paradigm shift in its operational landscape. The Indian logistics sector expects a new year driven by technological advancements, sustainability imperatives, and the ever-expanding realm of e-commerce.

The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP) is focused on creating seamless connectivity across transportation modes through a 360-degree enabling environment for industrial zones, ensuring visibility, predictability, and reliability in the supply chain. Operating on a digital framework, Gati Shakti will eliminate transit delays, electricity and data issues, and bureaucratic paperwork, as it boosts connectivity and multimodality.

The Bharatmala Pariyojana, launched in 2015, addresses infrastructure deficiencies through corridor-based development across India. The initiative is part of the government’s plan to facilitate faster movement of goods and bolster trade while concurrently reducing logistics costs. The development of multi-modal logistics parks strategically positioned to serve as centralised hubs for freight aggregation, distribution, storage, and various value-added services are part of the works.

Covering key production and consumption centres, which account for 45% of India’s road freight, these logistics parks will enhance efficiencies that potentially transform India’s logistics ecosystem. Simultaneously, the Sagarmala Project is pivotal in furthering India’s logistics capabilities. By improving port infrastructure, it facilitates efficient cargo movement, leading to a reduction in logistics costs. This catalyses trade, stimulates industrial growth, and augments overall competitiveness.

The Sagarmala Project includes the establishment of crucial rail and road linkages with port terminals, ensuring seamless connectivity. Additionally, the project focuses on multi-modal connectivity, incorporating rail, inland water, coastal, and road services, along with the development of logistics parks, warehousing facilities, and maritime services. India’s logistics industry is also set to benefit from initiatives such as ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI Work for India.’ These initiatives are poised to accelerate digitalisation, improve precision and efficiency, and reduce manual labour, addressing the historical reluctance of the sector towards embracing technology.

In 2024, players in the logistics industry are expected to adopt leaner operations practices further, encourage process optimisation, waste reduction, and heightened customer value. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain will be a part of the industry’s next revolution. Artificial Intelligence, with its advanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities, will enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and aid the logistics industry in making informed decisions by analysing vast amounts of data.

Through real-time tracking and sensor-based technology, IoT will provide unprecedented visibility into the movement of goods, ensuring accurate monitoring and timely interventions. Additionally, blockchain’s secure and transparent decentralised ledger will revolutionise how data is stored and shared, promoting trust and transparency across the supply chain. The shift towards big data analytics is expected to give logistics companies a competitive edge, allowing them to dynamically adapt to changing market conditions.

As businesses recalibrate their supply chain strategies, nearshoring, bringing production and manufacturing closer to the domestic market, is anticipated to gain prominence. This move reduces lead times and transportation costs and enhances agility and resilience in the face of global uncertainties. Simultaneously, friend shoring, a collaborative approach involving strengthened partnerships within the supply chain, is expected to flourish. By fostering closer ties with suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics partners, companies can optimise efficiency, reduce risks, and navigate the challenges presented by the dynamic logistics landscape.

Addressing the critical aspect of last-mile delivery solutions, the government’s identification of 100 essential transportation infrastructure projects marks a significant step. These initiatives are designed to enhance the flow of goods from roads to railways, benefiting sectors such as ports, coal, steel, fertiliser, and food grain. Thanks to tax concessions and financial incentives, it facilitates last-mile connectivity and presents opportunities for smaller logistics players to thrive. The government’s support for local production in specific industries is expected to fuel the demand for goods transportation and warehousing services, providing a significant impetus to the logistics sector.

Sustainability is a crucial focus area for the Indian logistics industry in 2024. Adopting green practices, including using electric vehicles, green packaging, and optimised transport routes, is set to reduce the environmental impact of logistics operations. Green logistics strategies, such as route optimisation, packaging waste reduction, and fuel consumption minimisation, will contribute to ecological preservation and enhance the overall effectiveness of supply chain operations, thereby raising customer value.

Lowering carbon footprints in logistics is imperative for addressing the escalating environmental crisis, aligning with global commitments to combat climate change. The logistics sector, a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, is pivotal in achieving sustainability goals. Beyond environmental concerns, embracing eco-friendly logistics practices ensures regulatory compliance in an evolving landscape of stringent environmental policies, enhancing companies’ resilience and reputation. Additionally, implementing sustainable measures often results in operational cost savings, fostering economic viability.

In tandem with these technological advancements and sustainability measures, proposals aimed at streamlining logistics operations, impacting areas such as warehousing, taxation, and transportation regulations, demonstrate the government’s commitment to facilitating a conducive environment for the sector to thrive. As e-commerce continues upward, the logistics sector is gearing up to meet the increased volumes and demand for faster, more reliable delivery services. The confluence of technological innovation, sustainability practices, regulatory support, and the dynamic e-commerce landscape positions the Indian logistics industry for a transformative and promising journey in 2024.