Logistics companies have had to pull the brakes on operations as inter-state movement has been impacted following the 21-day nationwide lockdown implemented on March 25. Although the central and state governments acted swiftly on Wednesday to ensure movement of essential supplies is restored, logistics companies have few requisite from the government.
Local authorities in Bengaluru and other areas have said they would be issuing curfew passes to those employed in essential services, which means these companies will have to collect passes across districts for movement of trucks and staff.
"We will be mobilising tens of thousands of people in the coming days. Registration of all the personnel at every location will be time consuming," Saahil Barua, CEO, Delhivery, told CNBC TV 18.
“Authorities should digitise the process of physical documentation and passes. Providing digital proof to authorities will make it much faster,” Barua added.
Members of e-commerce and logistics industries want authorities to digitise the process of handing out curfew passes and have recommended the use of a digital QR-based application for the process.
Barua added that local authorities were proactive in issuing guidelines, which helped Delhivery reopen most of its facilities.
Rajesh Yabaji, CEO of BlackBuck, said that the government has taken steps to give a ‘black-and-white’ clarity on what is included as essential services and what is not.
He continued, “There was some confusion at state borders, but the situation is now improving.”
However, apart from operational issues, logistics companies are now seeking financial assistance for truck drivers as many of them have not been able to complete their journeys over the past few days.
“While movement of essential goods has been allowed, the balance 60-70 percent goods are not moving in the country. Most of the truckers don't have jobs to move goods. The industry is already highly leveraged. There are fundamentals about how they will manage to repay EMIs that remains unanswered. The government should come up with something to enable them,” said Yabaji.
Jumbotail that provides goods to kirana stores in Karnataka, batted for their partners and said the government should ensure grocery stores are allowed to operate for longer hours.
“Kirana stores are still facing challenges. Keeping stores open 24/7 reduces stress on the system and prevents over-crowding at these locations,” said Jumbotail cofounder Ashish Jhina.
Several states such as Karnataka and Delhi have already taken steps to allow grocery stores to remain open 24/7.
First Published: IST