The supplementary operations developed to foster e-commerce have evolved into full-grown businesses in their own perspective, leveraging the scale they formed to support the e-commerce evolution to offer services to a hoard of new businesses in various industry verticals. A prime example herein is the logistics business, which has evolved way over the basic courier functions to encompass completely new avenues over the years.
Intra-city logistics happens to be merely a spec on the much wider canvas of the transportation industry. It pales in comparison with the length and breathe of the inter-state transport segment – consisting of fleets of trucks running across India’s vast labyrinth of national highways, ferrying goods of all makes and sizes between various states.
What piques interest is the fact that while intra-city logistics have adopted and utilized technology, its peers in the inter-state segment continue to remain vastly untouched by it. If at all technology has brushed the truck drivers who continue literally living on the roads as they drive across impossibly long stretches daily, it’s just in the form of them having to log in their progress vis-à-vis their destinations.
Why aren’t technologies which have been successfully incorporated in managing intra-city logistics being made use of in the inter-city transportation? For instance, wouldn’t it be more feasible and less taxing for the trucking system to incorporate a ‘hub’ model – whereby drivers wouldn’t need to go all the way across huge distances to the final destination? The cargo could be attached to a different truck at state borders for their onwards journey to the final point. This would reduce idle time and make the system more efficient and safe, not to say allow the truckers to spend considerably more time with family and friends and have some semblance of a lost social life.
Systems for real-time consignment tracking, coordination and delivery amongst various geographies are already in existence. With a little tweak the same can be suitably aligned to inter-city logistics’ operations.
It’s unfortunate that the laws governing countrywide logistics demands that the trailer cinched to a truck should have the same registration number as that of the truck — making the hub model incompatible – as in the latter it would be necessary to couple trailers to different trucks at each hub across the journey.
If the country’s national transportation framework truly needs to be transformed and attuned to leverage technology, we would need to seriously analyze the inherent regulations pertaining to the same.