Covid crisis: How pandemic determined trajectory of impact and recovery for MSMEs in logistics sector

Covid crisis: How pandemic determined trajectory of impact and recovery for MSMEs in logistics sector

Usually, monsoon season is a trough for logistics, barring these working in just a few segments. The influence of the second wave can also be to be anticipated to final by this era. Picture for illustration.

  • By Anjani Mandal

Logistics for MSMEs: The final 24 months have seen wave after wave of adversities for the standard logistics gamers, particularly the micro and small companies. As we’re weathering the second wave of the pandemic, how have micro and small logistics companies been impacted, and what’s anticipated for them within the coming months? This may be assessed by zoning in on medium and long-distance transportation. Firstly of 2019, 75 per cent of India’s medium to long-distance vans had been owned by small gamers having 5 vans or fewer. A few of these are owned by small teams, some owned by drivers, and others by small enterprise homeowners. The difficulty for the sector was triggered by the slowdown within the auto sector, which makes use of a big variety of these vans. Within the second half of 2019, as auto gross sales dipped, corporations diminished manufacturing and even halted manufacturing facility operations quickly. 

This was a serious stressor for the sector, and its influence will be seen within the decrease variety of new truck purchases in that yr – 40,000 fewer vans had been bought that yr in comparison with the earlier one. The fleet homeowners had been reeling beneath the monetary stress led to by the slowdown, and as issues had been beginning to search for, the pandemic hit with out warning. The truck buy numbers for 2020 had been decrease by the same quantity and the expectation in 2021, even decrease. 

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Affect of first wave and preliminary highway to restoration 

Within the instant aftermath of the primary set of lockdowns in early 2020, cross-border motion throughout states remained difficult, and what companies may very well be operated different. This led to a big drop within the day by day availability of long-distance masses from any given metropolis. The federal government introduced mortgage moratoriums to help the truckers, they usually might afford to be in enterprise whereas that aid began. The expectation on the time was that after the primary wave was introduced beneath management and mortgage moratoriums being in place, fleet homeowners might keep within the recreation and get again to regular operations on the finish of the pandemic.  

Amid makes an attempt to manage, a big variety of long-haul vans shifted to doing shorter journeys inside a state and throughout close by cities whereas the very small fleet homeowners moved to the agricultural sector. The Agri sector is centered round a special set of geographic clusters than the economic ones however might supply immediate cost and even premium charges. These shifts and coping methods might nonetheless not take in the stress within the system, not by a protracted shot.

A big variety of fleet homeowners diminished their truck holdings, and one other huge chunk needed to exit the enterprise altogether. Many bought their vans on the first alternative they acquired, and lots of others surrendered their automobiles to the financiers. By the point the second wave rolled in, there have been 30 per cent fewer small and medium conventional logistics companies within the sector in comparison with the earlier yr.

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Issues might have improved had the economic system been continued on the restoration trajectory we noticed within the early months of 2021. However the timing and the severity of the second wave factors to the inevitable final result – much more small and micro logistics corporations must adapt, resize, or give up. 

Distinction in influence between first wave and second wave

Throughout the first wave, there have been no clear insurance policies in any group about the way to deal with the pandemic and lockdowns. And because the scare of the primary wave abetted, everybody discovered a rhythm to work by the scenario. There was a way that the challenges are momentary and short-term, there will probably be monetary help to handle loans and EMIs, and enterprise will get higher as extra masses change into out there out there. Throughout the second wave although, corporations had extra clear insurance policies. There have been thresholds and guidelines about when to scale back capability or shut down manufacturing. And with prior expertise of how lengthy the primary wave took to subside, the outlook for a lot of has been to drastically reduce losses and scale back threat from the pandemic. 

Gamers now know the dangers and unpredictability related to long-distance journeys. There may very well be delays in getting return journeys, there may very well be lockdowns. Drivers are additionally much less prepared to do lengthy hauls for a similar causes. And there’s a actual concern of getting contaminated and well being being impacted. 


Usually, monsoon season is a trough for logistics, barring these working in just a few segments. The influence of the second wave can also be to be anticipated to final by this era. The restoration might begin with FMCG as their demand can bounce again sooner than most different segments. Alternatively, the auto sector will nonetheless wrestle and isn’t anticipated to be a part of the primary restoration cycle. 

Anjani Mandal is the CEO of Fortigo Logistics. Views expressed are the creator’s personal.

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