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    Blue Dart buoyant on successful drone delivery trial of vaccines; bets on express logistics, e-commerce

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    Blue Dart buoyant on successful drone delivery trial of vaccines; bets on express logistics, e-commerce

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    The Blue Dart stock has been surging in trade, up 17 percent in the last month and 56 percent this year. The company also recently commenced drone trials to support the delivery of medical supplies. To discuss the demand and the outlook, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Balfour Manuel, MD of Blue Dart.

    The Blue Dart stock has been surging in trade, up 17 percent in the last month and 56 percent this year. The company also recently commenced drone trials to support the delivery of medical supplies. To discuss the demand and the outlook, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Balfour Manuel, MD of Blue Dart.
    On drone trials, Manuel said, “It has been a breakthrough. It is the first BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flight, it was a super successful flight. Blue Dart always wanted to provide value to our customers, so it really fits into that dynamic. We also have here an example of public-private partnerships. So I give credit to our partners, the Government of Telangana and Skye Air, our tech partners, who made this possible. It is their proactive work that made it possible in such a short time. The mission was to carry vaccines in this time of the pandemic, it very much connects to the need of the hour and Blue Dart has always been in the express space, and we wanted to be the first ones to venture into it.”
    He added, “The proof of the concept is there and very clearly, we have established that it can serve as a very high-tech service provider to the remotest parts of the country. If you asked me about logistics -higher weight categories are still in experimental mode.”
    Earlier in the month, Telangana government’s ambitious brainchild, ‘Medicine from the sky’ project, commenced its drone delivery trials in partnership with Blue Dart and Skye Air Mobility, with the objective of ensuring that medicines and vaccines reached people on time. Skye Air specialises in the end-to-end ecosystem for drone-based logistics transportation. Telangana was the first state in the country to begin BVLOS drone flights for the delivery of the Covid vaccines. BVLOS drone flights can travel 500-700 metres, from its base, that is beyond the line of vision. BVLOS drone flights were used in the state to cover a distance of 9-10 kilometres for supplying vaccines and other medical supplies.
    On growth, Manuel said, “I won't give you the forward guidance. The first-quarter results are there, excellent performance on the topline and bottomline. Given the third wave, we will always say we are cautiously optimistic, and we continue to remain in that space. But I believe there is a lot of promise in the space, express logistics has seen an uptick and it has been very good for us, both on the B2B and B2C space.”
    On e-commerce, he said, “It has grown at very high double-digit, being a listed entity, I kind of don't give forward-looking comments. But it has seen significant growth and I think even the contribution to our total pie has grown substantially and I believe it will continue to grow. It has been a great flight to quality as well, on the e-commerce side. We were one of the first people to bring in contactless delivery. That is a super-efficient delivery, where the customer doesn't have to come down. It is a contactless delivery to residences.”
    For full management commentary, watch the video.
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