Multi-Modal Company Seros To Encourage Green Logistics In India
“We are trying to make a difference. For us, it’s a cause, not just business. I’m particularly very excited about green logistics as we are one of the largest green logistics companies in the country," claims Ashish Agarwal, Director and CEO, Seros Logistics
Logistics is as old as the supply chain and is valued approximately at $200 billion today. The sector is huge - from trucking, warehousing, first-mile and last-mile delivery to sea transportation and warehouse management. Seros Logistics, is a very diversified logistics company. Leveraging our position in the industry and with an experienced team, we are trying to change a lot of paradigms.
What is Seros Logistics all about?
Majorly, we have four verticals at Seros Logistics. We foster a sustainable network and provide end-to-end logistics solutions to provide a seamless experience. From road transportation to shipping and handling cargo within the plant we enable our clients to be free from all the logistical distractions.
The second pillar is the marine division, Seros Maritime. It is one of our most significant verticals, and we are one of the largest coastal logistics operators in India. We move goods via sea routes on the Indian coastline. We strongly believe that there is merit in adopting this approach as there is immense pressure on the Indian highways. The high congestion is upping the rate of fuel burn, which is leading to higher pollution levels. By taking the goods and cargo away from the highways, we contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. India is one of the leading players in maritime logistics as it has a long and strategic coastline.
We have a second division within marine logistics, which is offshore. We provide maintenance and supply services to offshore companies like Mumbai High and L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering, among others. Besides this, we are very proud that we are one of India’s very few ship repairing and shipbuilding companies. We service private clients like Adani, Reliance etc. Seros also serves the Ministry of Defence by providing maintenance and repairing services to the large fleets of the coast guards.
Seros Green is our newest division which is about green logistics. With this vertical, we reiterate the need to transform the logistics industry by using greener and cleaner fuels. Besides the vehicular pollution, industries running on coal, furnace oil, and other dirty fuels contribute to increased pollution levels.
We at Seros are partnering with SMEs and committed to helping them go green by shifting to cleaner fuels. We are also into supplying the same reliably and safely. At Seros , we constantly invest our time and effort in research and development and lead this industry’s transformation.
What are the benefits associated with green logistics, and what is its future in India?
Under the Paris Agreement, India has committed to cutting down emissions, and all the companies have to work together. This is where green logistics steps in. The use of cleaner fuels will reduce carbon emissions massively, which will contribute to decreased pollution levels.
As far as the future of green logistics is concerned, let’s take a global example. American electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla is valued more than the other automobile companies. Why? Because the company is using EV technology, which is an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution. The same thing is bound to happen in India too. All car segments will eventually migrate in the 200 to 300 km radius segment. We already see a lot of CNG-fitted cars, but for the long haul segment, it is going to be LNG unless there is some disruption in battery technology.
You have been in the industry for over 10 years. How is your overall journey in the logistics sector?
Although we started as any other logistic company, we pivoted significantly, saying things have to be done differently. Therefore, we decided to invest heavily in research and development to take steps that will pave the way in the industry.
What advancement have you witnessed throughout your journey in this sector?
Long haul transportations on sea or via land are almost entirely powered by diesel. In the last two years, we experimented with electric trucks and heavy trucks with 40 tonnes of payload. We also experimented with heavy trucks running on CNG and LNG. We have seen a dramatic change in emissions while shifting to cleaner fuels. Not just in alternate fuels, we have also been active in enhancing the digital backend. This combination of both enables us to give our clients a seamless experience. It has been a significant differentiating factor for all our clients.
Apart from green logistics, what other products are lined up for Seros?
We feel that green logistics is a huge market today. There are over 4 million commercial vehicles on Indian roads. Therefore, it’s a long path ahead. We will dedicate ourselves to this and focus on the tremendous growth opportunities. As of now, we have decided that we will stay committed to this sector. We at Seros will keep doing what it takes to enhance this industry, create thought leadership, and lead the industry to transition.
It is certainly challenging to set up something new in India at scale. How many LNG fleets are you planning to have in the upcoming years?
In the private sector, we are the largest player as of now. Our fleet size is 30, and we are adding to the CNG fleet as well. We have another fleet of 30 HMV’S which we are entirely running on CNG. We transport almost over a million SCM of CNG every month and over 15000 metric tonnes of LNG to several industrial clients. The number is continuously going up.
Currently, we have 60 vehicles in our green fleet, and look forward to expanding it to 3000 in the next few years. We are then planning an extensive fleet conversion program. We are taking the lead in LNG trucks and actively working with technology providers and regulators to bring these pieces of equipment.
How open are you to the schemes and policies or schemes by the government to promote green logistics in India?
There were no fuel stations to dispense LNG, and therefore, resulted in long jams. The government then took the responsibility to set up the infrastructure, so they mandated and opened up to make policy corrections. They also asked all the government companies like IOCL, HBCL to start setting up pumps. In the next six months, many LNG pumps will be set up. We also have LNG dispensing infrastructure in place, which will further improve the situation. The government has simplified the regulations, and currently, there are a lot of incentives for the EV sector for instance, especially what we are seeing being done by various governments for passenger vehicles. Similarly this is something where govt has to come up for heavy commercial vehicle we see it happening very soon and the government is extremely serious because there are multiple benefits in it. Due to pollution and climate change, India is largely dependent on foreign exchange for crude oil. However, if we shift the majority of the sector to LNG, the dependency also comes down.
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