Continuing our #LogisticsTrends2023 series, we have insights from Afzal Malbarwala, President, The Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI), who believes that sustainability in business trend will gain more traction as it is now a key responsibility area with business volumes increasing. Here are the excerpts:


What was the greatest trend in the logistics industry in 2022 according to you?


Apart from the usual surges and declines – the single most important trend we noticed is the growing emphasis/need for multimodal connectivity transport. Global businesses have taken cognisance of the fact that the domestic circuit in India is better connected than before and the feed into / from logistics hubs is streamlined for global business deliveries.


According to you, what are the milestones achieved for the industry in 2022? 


The biggest milestone we see is the fact that the industry is getting back on its feet post the pandemic. 2022 has by far been the most lockdown free in comparison to previous 2 years. Getting back to work in our standard routines without fear of further closedowns is of great satisfaction to everyone. In numbers YTD 2022 – India’s export growth is exponential compared to the pre-covid years. This growth in exports is aindication of India’s rightful place as the 5th largest (and growing) economy.


With the digital transformation in the logistics industry, technology has reshaped the industry by increasing productivity in the supply chain and reducing costs and errors. What is your opinion and how will it take shape in 2023?


The changes arising from the shift towards a digital mode will prevail and grow stronger in a positive way. Innovative automation is here to stay and the fact that we are able to achieve higher levels of efficiency in sync with our robust economy growth is a endorsement of the correct direction we are pursuing. As the new year progresses, we expect a more pragmatic methodology where quality aspects get imbibed into this technological journey propelling India as a much better place to procure & work from/in.


How do you see the government intervention in the sector? What are the expectations? 


The government’s intervention is welcomed. We see this as anendorsement of the fact that the logistics industry is a key propeller to the country’s economical growth. The new policies initiated are complementary for a growth orientation and a continued focus on the same will ensure our rightful place at the top of the table in growth of business. We expect a more closer engagement with the public policy making government bodies as the industry competitiveness increases and efficiencies are gained.


Will sustainability be the trend for the industry? 


Sustainability in business practices is already a well endorsed trend in our industry. The trend will gain more traction as it is now a key responsibility area with business volumes increasing and so will our social commitment to the causes be mandated. We need to accept this and ensure our organisations remain educated and committed to the same. Growth without commitment and adherence to sustainable processes is meaningless.


What is the Outlook 2023 for the logistics industry?


The industry remains optimistic despite global warnings of volume decline. Our interpretation is that this is a correction phase which countries are undergoing as part of the growth cycle with each economy getting realigned from a covid era. We expect the disruptions to throw up enhanced learnings which will further drive economical growth.