As many clients from Australia know, India announced that the entire country was locked for 21 days from 24 March last year. At that time, it was a lockdown with more than a milliard of people. The lockdown extended till 3 May.
The Indians were indulged in bulk buying of essential foodstuffs and staples in the days before this initial announcement, expecting the government to adopt more restrictions.
Indians have reacted in large part to the government’s demand to remain safe in their homes. Many – especially poorer – consumers have changed their mode of survival by acquiring staples like a meal, oil, and rice.
A summary of the current situation in retail and food logistics is provided in this article.
Challenges of performance
The first challenge, the victims of the lockdown in India, was that of shutting down truck operations and that of workers who depend on a daily wage who get jobs off the ground overnight. The government considerably underestimated the impact that its decision to lock these workers would have. The first impact was on domestic supply chains – from tiny retail stores in all areas of India to modern retail stores, e-commerce, and medical supplies.
Customs clearances have also been stopped. It could only be used for a fraction of e- commerce. Consequently, following the announcement, the delivery of important items was a major issue, in particular via e-commerce platforms.
Substantial stocks were ordered via Big Basket, Amazon, Grofers, and others, allegedly stopped by police reports of delivery drivers. Despite government assurances, essential products would continue to be delivered.
The government has moved quickly and clarified what is essential and essential, and ultimately also allowed the movement of goods that are not essential. However, the impact in the transport sector has been very laggard.
Of 1,2 million vehicles, only 120,000 returns on Indian highways throughout India. India has entered the harvest season to make things worse. The initial trucks were used to address the transport needs of fresh products at the village level by reporting products thrown on highways or fed for lack of transport.
State police have moved to educate their lock-in colleagues to allow the delivery and transportation of goods.
The supply chain is progressing slowly, but the market has a significant gap between processed food and other “sticky” products, such as pulses, biscuits, and noodles. Start-ups, online food aggregation companies, and QSRs have been attempting to provide relief by supplying essential products.
A quick e-commerce triggers
Even though small mother-and-father stores were the first calling point for neighbourhoods and are essential to support people at lockout, e-commerce channels started their business.
Also, customers sat on the fringe and ordered online. This outcome was driven by the widespread notion that cash is a key supplier to COVID-19, with considerable flexibility and home delivery. This increased client base will assist ecommerce businesses in the future since after the crisis is over, some clients are retained.
From today on, imported products are not the favourite items, but even pasta and meal tortillas are being collected. According to a national dealer, Australian products like wraps of Mission Foods are particularly demanded.
Most supermarkets are open but admission is strictly controlled and safe social distancing practices are followed. This leads to long waiting times for retail outlets. Many retail stores have also been impeded by the difficulties in staffing. Moreover, due to a rupture in supply chains and imports, there are growing stock-out situations for a wide range of inventory units.
Duty: Delays and Deletions
Customs work 24×7, and clearances are to take place. The Government confirmed.
However, on the ground in Delhi and Mumbai, many CNF [cost and freight] agents have stated that clearing agents acting for the owners of the goods will not be able to make clear shipments from the CFS. This is because there is a lack of transportation and fear of locking capital until payments are visible.
This is expected to be collected with the availability of trucks. There is more than one vessel in the high seas (unable to unload the cargo at any other port) and container clearance and turnaround times are expected to be delayed at the beginning of operations.
Importers are currently treading attentively. Its focus is on clearing any shipments arriving at the ports already. New orders will wait and many will watch the post-lockdown market trend and continue to evaluate the situation.
A new Australian e-commerce platform
E-commerce appears as a potential source of supply during these tough times, and e- commerce companies improve their supply chain every day. In many places, the volume of transactions and the number of customers has increased exponentially. Many users will probably become permanent e-commerce participants for the first time. If the world and
India emerge from these test times, e-commerce will have become a bigger part of society.
The ease and convenience of e-commerce is an accepted advantage and the growth of online shopping is anticipated enormously. This offers Australian small to medium-sized food businesses an important opportunity.