Lockdowns disrupt logistics, hit biz of e-comm cos and vendors

Business City

In Karnataka, there is little clarity on what essentials are.

New Delhi: Restricted logistics because of Covid lockdowns has badly affected the business of e-commerce platforms and vendors. Ritik Varma, assistant marketing manager, e-commerce operations, at the Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, informed, “We aren’t getting goods from vendors on time. We have large operations in Karnataka and mostly all vendors are unable to facilitate products as there is… restricted movement due to the lockdown.”
In the current lockdown, the Karnataka government has allowed the inter- and intra-state movement of only essential goods.

Naveen, a vendor who handles logistics for Mombo, a chain of stores for baby/mom products, said they are unable to procure goods from manufacturers because movement is not easy.

E-commerce platform operators said the Karnataka government has not defined essential goods clearly, causing them losses. Varma, who also handles the operations of Momeaze, an online shopping website of Cloudnine, said: “Some items which should come under essential items are still not being stocked up as vendors are having trouble with logistics.”

According to a Mint article, Amazon recently requested the Delhi government to allow delivery and inter- and intra-state movement of all products. Companies are asking the government to expand the scope of non-essentials.

“Even if the goods delivered come under the category of essential goods, the delivery is still delayed. The recent cyclone in Gujarat affected a lot of our orders in the state,” Varma shared.
Logistics firms have been directly affected by Covid-19. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains around the world.

An official of Sky Packers & Movers, a logistics company based in Delhi, shared: “A halt to manufacturing, low demand and supply, and lockdowns have reduced the demand for logistics services, which likely will result in downward pressure on prices across warehousing, freight and logistics.”

Nandita Durai, co-founder of Yellow Rabbit, an online clothing platform for babies, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce platforms, but how are we supposed to keep an easy flow of goods to e-commerce platforms with all these statewise lockdowns?”

Problems with logistics have not just affected big players but also small vendors and homegrown business owners. Ravi Agrawal, who owns a supermarket in Patna, said his business had come back on track in February 2021, but after the second wave and due to “improper” lockdowns, it has been affected again. “We had hoped to sell products online through e-commerce platforms, but that seems impossible as there are very strict restrictions in some of the states.”

However, some owners of businesses selling non-essential goods said there isn’t a problem if the quantity of goods is small.
Shanu Agrawal, Founder of Altration India, an online clothing brand, said restricted logistics is a problem, but her company hasn’t faced problems in getting products delivered in every state. “Our orders in Chhattisgarh have not been delivered yet, and in some states, there has been a delay of seven days.”

According to Ken Research, India’s e-commerce logistics industry is expected to register a positive five-year CAGR of 23.6% in terms of revenue during the period FY 2020 to FY 2025.

Changing shopping patterns, increasing requirement of fast delivery services, and use of AI, big data analytics and block chain technology are expected to play a major role in the growth of the logistics industry.


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