Digital freight platform – The Logistics solution for graded withdrawal of Lockdown #logistics

The cataclysmic black swan covid -19 pandemic has literally brought the world to its knees. With no known vaccine, the infections and deaths rising in all parts of the world, the only effective recourse at this juncture seems to be isolation. Countries all across the world have adopted various formats of isolation, shutdown, lockdown and adopting a work from home format to counter the spread. India has by for adopted one of the strictest isolation measures by Locking down the country for a period of 21 days and invoking section 144 prohibiting any assembly of more than 4 people. A stern stance by all state governments on closing down all establishments from governments to private institutions were strictly enforced and only keeping essential services functional. As the days progressed, further actions like sealing of state, district and buildings and containment zones , use of compulsory face masks and permissions for movements are being implemented. All these measures definitely contributed immensely from preventing a rapid scaleup in the infections, however in a high density population country like India the possibility of containment to near zero, is a tall order. Needless to say the early co-ordinated action and communication machinery by the authorities, has so far kept the ascending infection curve in control. Notwithstanding the fact that the ensuing days will evidence the true merit and efficacy of these actions, hoping that we do not see a situation where deaths become the order of the day and citizens need to resort to wearing PPEs daily to venture out.

All this has led to a drastic contraction in the economic activity, more so since the advent of the lockdown activities happened in the crucial fourth quarter of the Financial year. Any hope of making up the already flagging economy / year by a last quarter spike also vanished. For a developing economy (GDP 2.59Tr) this paralysis in economic activities could setback the country several years back. It is estimated that the economic impact could be in the tune of 6% unto end April and unto 9% loss on GDP if extended to May. The fallout of this unprecedented epidemic would have far reaching consequences on society, changing behavioral pattern, consumerism also not the mention the fact of general trust and confidence among people, since the discovery of an effective vaccine is possibly months/ years away.

It is but apparent that the economy cannot remain in this suspended state for prolonged periods, since this could usher in massive poverty and deaths due to hunger. Therefore the authorities must plan and action a graded withdrawal procedure of lockdown with directives for the citizens to follow. Since the only counter response that has worked is “social distancing” “ isolation” and keeping the elderly and medically unfit people insulated, laws must be passed and implemented across board. Logistics and Supply Chain sector which is essential and most vital for wheels of the economy to move and also to reach essentials to the citizens should be permitted with Guidelines of operations.

Logistics, since it involves moving raw material and finished goods across multiple modes, CFSs, Warehouses, factories, stockists, retailers etc involves manpower, equipments , handling, stocking etc. Being fragmented, inefficient, over 80% of the goods movement happen in a traditional or conventional manner. It is apparent that this methodology cannot be adopted since it will contravene the essence of social distancing which is of paramount importance today.

However, stake holders, authorities could adopt Digital Freight platforms who in the past few years have established themselves with their technology, innovation and scale and ushering in a radically new efficient business framework.

Both Clients (Shippers) and Carriers (Transporters/ Freight forwarders) could embrace and adopt these platforms, whereby Contactless (social distancing) and adherence to rules ( SOPs) framed by authorities could be followed very rigorously.

Every shipment, communication could be tracked by all stake-holders real-time and unnecessary crowding in sensitive areas could be avoided and only optimal manpower could be deployed.

Real-time contact with transporters ingressing into a city or facility or egressing the city, facility could be monitored effectively, all documentation, eway bill, specific citiwise permissions could be made available.

Medical kits, emergency material can be tracked and timed also re-directed to areas that require it.

Transport partners could be fore-warned, redirected, ensure seamless movement also take care of their boarding and resting requirements.

For intracity deliveries transporters on the platform could carry out housing colony order mandates on Digital Freight platform and could deliver it at a designated time colony to colony.

Unprecedented times calls for out of the box thinking all with a view to be a responsible citizen. Authorities Shippers could mandate clients, transporters to use digital freight platforms like valueshipr to undertake their transactions and get them to adhere and adapt to the current situation.

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