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DOT: This Green-logistic Startup Is Transforming Last-mile Delivery

Founded in 2015, DOT is a movement created through an idea based on the Intelligent Mobility Movement (IMM). The Indian logistics sector is gearing to reach a growth rate of over 10 per cent and by 2020 the industry will cross the $215 billion mark.

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DOT is a cutting-edge delivery enterprise offering unique and innovative mobility solutions through its fleet of e-cargo vans and electric bikes for the first and last-mile delivery solutions to the e-commerce and food-tech sectors in the B2B segment. "One of the pillars of economic development for any country is the transportation network which is critical to the national infrastructure. Due to increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to an expanding carbon footprint, there is a dire need for adoption of a clean and sustainable technology to address environmental issues and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels," said Vineet J Mehra, Founder-DOT. 

Mehra back in 2015 was much concerned about the climate change crisis. He then followed the vision of being a catalyst to be able to bring about sustainable development by addressing the alarming issues faced by the country – vehicular pollution and increased unemployment. It was then DOT was conceptualised and formed on the above principles as a green and emission-free logistic solutions provider for urban transport using advanced new-age technology.

 "Since inception, DOT has contributed to the reduction of carbon emission to the tune of 16,000 tonnes in the past two years," added Mehra.  Mehra commenced the startup with this thought of transforming the traditional logistics space by smart connected electric vehicles. 

Recently, DOT was also awarded The Best Employment-Generating MSE by SIDBI-ET India MSE Awards.

Business Model

Being a simple last-mile delivery startup, DOT aids a hub and spoke model. "Our clients contract us for the long-term and we offer them wet-leased EV fleet for their last-mile delivery fulfilment. Our technology platforms are integrated with the clients’ platforms, which allow us to staff and rostering, and enable us to fulfil the deliveries accordingly," informed Mehra. 

While DOT works on different revenue models based on the company size and operational parameters. Its most common model is revenue per delivery. Besides this, it has long-term agreements with major clients based on volumes and weight. Being a bootstrapped company, the startup is still growing and have been operationally profitable since inception due to green vehicle cost efficiencies. "Last year our revenue from Indian delivery operations was approximately $1.8 million, which is over 100 per cent jump from the corresponding year," said Mehra. 

DOT has also demonstrated the highest ratio of deliveries to its fleet size. It is the fastest-growing player in the industry owing to its sectoral diversification and hybrid model of employing drivers/rider members.

Challenges

 As the grass-roots climate movement is gaining momentum across the globe, nations are taking some stern steps to improve the climatic conditions. Mehra being a member of SDG goal8 (Sustainability Development Goals), his green start-up DOT is a testament of UN SDG goal8 which is aligned both with the principles of UN SDG and economic growth including a key focus on environment and social upliftment. "Being socially responsible, I strongly believe in creating a business environment which thrives on collaborative efforts.

Undoubtedly, we have faced many challenges and raising finance has been on the top of the list. I feel this is due to a lack of historical and benchmarked data which could act as a yardstick for current and future projections. Also, sustainable mobility through EVs is still at an evolutionary stage which would require concerted, focused and coordinated efforts from all stakeholders across the value-chains," added Mehra. 

With the government's push, there is a lot of thrust on the adoption of electric vehicles. However, there are practical difficulties and challenges which need instant focus. The major challenge is in bringing the electric vehicle on the road, which refers to getting them financed. On the other hand, banks are apprehensive of financing EVs in general and even if they do finance, the rate of interest is exorbitant. Also, EVs don’t enjoy the availability of related charging infrastructure and retaining manpower is also a work in progress.

"To be able to progress and continue our vision, we had to create our mini-ecosystem which involved acquiring electric fleet and setting up parking and charging infrastructure.We are currently catering to over 30 cities and will be adding more cities in the next couple of years," said Mehra. 

Future Propositions

After China, India offers the greatest potential for EVs, mainly 2 & 3 wheelers, which occupy significant road space in India. In perspective, 80 per cent of the vehicle population in India comprises of these two. Growth of the auto market will lead to the subsequent growth of the electric vehicles which is directly proportional to its penetration in the logistics sector.

Innovation in short distance deliveries represents a major opportunity for smart cities. In addition to innovation in delivery vehicles, last-mile improvements are also empowered by the design of advanced algorithms and analytics such as integrated inventory management, dynamic routing, courier collaboration and proof-of-delivery tools. DOT has created an entire eco-system pioneering the process of integrating diverse technology platforms, electric mobility, safety, environmental concerns and social responsibility for achieving greenfield logistics solutions.

 Adding to this, the logistics industry encompasses a wide variety of sub-sectors, and out of them, e-commerce retail and substrate logistics industry in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent. The current size of the last mile logistics market is more than $1 billion in India and is poised to grow to over $3 billion by 2022. 

As the Logistics industry thrives on transportation and digital technologies are now reshaping the logistics space, use of Electric Vehicles will transform the mass transportation in INDIA. The e-commerce industry is a high growth, high revenue area which is projected to change the landscape of retail buying in India. "Innovating transport solutions in this field for first and last-mile deliveries are the areas where EVs will prove to be a boon for our future generations and DOT has been outdoing the industry growth rates," said Mehra.



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