“The shipping and logistics industries have sailed through tough times in the past year. As a result of global quantitative easing, the start of the year saw booming demand, which boosted Indian exports. This situation has entirely reversed over the last few months as lessening in demands saw freight rates fall drastically. The plummeting freight rates did not positively impact the exports despite the festive seasons, and it continued till the end of the year. In contrast, the drop in dry bulk and container freight rates benefitted pharmaceutical, steel, and auto part exporters. Also, by mid-year, the good news from the Supreme Court ruling on the refund of GST benefitting Indian importers, who will no longer have to pay these taxes moving forward.
Although developed economies witnessed a slowdown, the forecast for India has remained more buoyant. Despite this hiccup, we believe the coming year will be the year of exports contributing to the vision of becoming a five trillion-dollar economy. The government has implemented many favourable policies, such as the National Logistics Policy & PM Gati Shakti. These will help further alleviate the challenges faced by the EXIM fraternity.
The emphasis on digitization that these policies bring in will significantly benefit the sector. It will streamline, enhance, mobilize and make the shipping and logistics process more resilient. It will be a year where we will see integration technologies by supply chain companies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, automation, robotics, blockchain and big data to provide intelligent logistics solutions to their customers. Although the primary concern remains to be uncertainty, being able to adapt to the changing environment will be the key.”