Has the Suez Canal crisis fully resolved? Does it have any long-term impact on ocean shipments moving from India?
It has taken time, but the blockage of the Suez Canal is over as of now. We have witnessed a rise in oil prices and a temporary shortage of finished goods in Europe in the short term. In addition, there has been a rise in the sea freight rates of shipments to Europe. In the long term, it has worsened the current container shortage crisis in India and across the globe as containers were stuck on the vessel for a more extended period. We believe the shortage of containers will get resolved once the smooth movement of import and export vessels resume from Indian and global ports. The Suez Canal is an essential route for India as it offers lesser transit time to Europe and North America and hencelower logistics costs. We need to take measures so that such kind of crises are avoided in the future.
What are the possible long terms solutions that you suggest to resolve container shortage issues?
There is no easy solution to India's current container shortage, and many other countries have been facing a similar situation right now. We believe the problem is a manifestation of international developments. We hope the current issue of container shortage is resolved on time so that import containers start moving and we can see some relief on the container shortage front. Additionally, the challenge of non-availability of space in vessels calling on Indian ports, congestion at the docks and imbalance in exports and imports are other reasons for the shortage of containers.
What are the various challenges that the shipping and logistics industry is currently going through?
Besides the shortage of containers, one of the major issues the industry has been facing is a relatively lower adoption rate of technology as compared to other industries. Rate discovery, documentation, clearance, billing and other processesinvolve a lot of human intervention, leading to inaccuracy, cost escalations, and increased turnaround times. All these factors ultimately impact the smooth movement of the cargo. There is a pressing need for a complete digital transformation of the industry to handle the international shipments proficiently. The stumbling blocks that exporters and importers face can be managed efficiently once the entire ecosystem goes digital. Consider the case of customs that have shifteda part of their processes online.We hope once we are out of pandemic, the government will support the intelligent implementation of new-age technologies that will accelerate the overall digitization of the EXIM ecosystem.
How can digitization resolve some of the current problems faced by the shipping industry?
Primarily driven by manual processes, the industry has been exposed to errors resulting in high-risk situations and causing losses worth lacs, if not crores. Because of the involvement of multiple stakeholders, manual interventions and paper-based transactions, digitization needs to be the core focus of the industry. It will help streamline processes and provide seamless visibility and transparency over all processes and will enable the sector to leverage data-led insights and make informed decisions, thereby improving every segment in the shipment value cycle.
How different is the role played by Freightwalla as compared with other traditional shipping companies? How is it benefitting the lives of the shippers?
Logistics has been a black-box for a long time. Freightwalla identified some major challenges faced by the importers & exporters and helped businesses bring down their overall cost of logistics. When it comes to freight forwarding industry, there is an unusual amount of manual work involved, largely in air and ocean freight forwarding. In India, many companies still rely over email and personal handoffs to convey shipping documents. These processes are all time consuming and often error-prone methods that unnecessarily inflate costs and kill profits. We are India's leading digital freight forwarder that focuses on bringing increased value and transparency to international shippers by empowering them with state-of-the-art technology and tools to better organize and monitor their logistics. Our digital platform provides real-time visibility over the status of the shipments at any time and the mobile app’s automated alerts and notifications result in clientsseeing a reduction in the man hours spent on logistics, allowing them to focus on their core business. All in all, Freightwalla is effectively able to provide better on-time reliability of international shipments, at a lower overall cost of logistics.