The past few weeks have directed me to the Seven Sisters once again. Before one rushes to conjecture all rasa leelas, let me hasten to add that my Seven Sisters are the northeastern states, viz., Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. Barring Mizoram and Sikkim, I had the pleasure of traveling the rest for months to understand the logistical nightmare of carting their organic fruits, flowers, and vegetables to the mainland. After 2016, I never set foot on that terrain.
Arvind Mittal briefed me on the roadside rendezvous in the Yashwantpur Truck Terminal in Bengaluru about his company’s exposure and experience doing business in the northeast.
On day two of the Mumbai visit (4 January 2022), Akshay Motihar of Mint Logistics drives down from Mahalakshmi to Thane to share his dalliance and successful business operations with an eagle-eye approach to the same Seven Sisters from his Mumbai perch.
Over a large cappuccino and snacks at the packed Starbucks late Wednesday evening, the mid-thirties second-generation Sindhi businessman convincingly points to the bright future of road transportation. He’s been into multi- no, bimodal: road and rail for over a decade. He concedes that he makes more money in rail logistics than the road. Yet, he is adding to his fleet strength. Why? Customers demand. “Whatever one may say, rail can NEVER match what road transport does. Sure, the bulk commodities movement will prefer rail. At the same time, one has to be choosy about what goods you move by rail. Everything CANNOT be ferried on the rail.”
He amazes me with a few declarations. (1) Fleet managers and operation heads are two key players in a successful transportation business. (2) Logistics will remain in the background forever because they have NO interface with ordinary people. It is more of B2B, not B2C. It is a commodity business, and shippers always look for the lowest cost. (3) E-com booming, but for how long due to the business dynamics? (4) Future is bright for road transport. (5) BS6 continues glitch-ridden, and OEMs are still clueless. Unless and until the plug-and-play diagnostics reveal the electronic challenges, the engineers have no solution. Trial and error era. How long? It has to stop. Hopeful, he is that they would sooner rather than later.
One final point. Money alone cannot satisfy drivers. “You have to look beyond. I am looking into that zone.”
Will I help them in that area? Asking such a question is an insult to me!
By the way, I asked him. Why is his company named Mint Logistics?
MINT stands for Motihar Investment And Trading Company!
The future is bright, with youngsters like him holding the fort and battling solidly for road transport with the bureaucrat-driven railways.