- Navigating trends, technology and start-up collaborations the new quest for industry efficiency
Interview with Mr. Aashir Hussain— CEO, Seabird Logistics Pakistan
PAGE: Tell us something about yourself?
Aashir Hussain: I am the CEO of Seabird Logistics (Pvt) Limited since August 2022 and prior to this I have over 11 years of experience at Seagull Shipping and Logistics (Pvt) Limited in various export/import related assignments.
PAGE: How do you view the state of Pakistan’s shipping and logistics industry and its current challenges and opportunities?
Aashir Hussain: The term logistics and transportation enunciates the entire network starting with the planning, implementing transfer and the storage of goods and services from the place of raw material, manufacturing (termed as point of origin) to the consumer/household i.e. the point of consumption. This network has the most critical role in the economic development of a country, because without a seamless logistics setup the movement of goods and services across the different areas from production to consumption business cannot flourish.
Logistics also helps in improving the trade account of a country and creation of employment. In other words, the logistics industry boosts the overall economic development of a country. In terms of international trade, by having an efficient and safe transportation & storage of goods facilities, it helps to reduce trade barriers and foster healthy relations between neighbouring countries thereby making life easier for business community. This, in turn, increases the capital account and reduce the dependency on international lenders like the IMF and World Bank, a challenge for all developing nations alike.
As discussed above, the logistics industry also provides a major source of employment in many countries. Due to the complexity of involved roles, it provides a variety of jobs, including transportation, storage and warehouses up to the commercial and retail distribution network. This helps to reduce unemployment rate of the country and resultantly boost the overall economic growth. Efficiency is the key in our industry, therefore having a proficient network that reduces the delivery time helps in the reduction of the cost incurred for transportation, storage, delivery and increase the overall reliability of the supply chain. Developed countries employ a method called “just-in-time” inventory which is only possible if there is a reliable supply chain network.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is directly related to the logistics structure of a country, having logistics infrastructure, such as ports, airports, and highways which help to improve connectivity and access to markets. This can help attract foreign investment, boost exports, and stimulate economic growth. Overall, logistics plays a very vital role in the economic growth of a country. In short by facilitating the business, creation of employment opportunities, improving efficiency, and developing infrastructure, logistics can help to drive economic development and improve the standard of living for people in a country.
PAGE: How do you perceive the influence of technological advancements on the shipping and logistics sector and its implications for industry dynamics?
Aashir Hussain: With the emergence of e-commerce and rising digital literacy among the consumers, the global logistics industry has been changing significantly in the recent years. Factors such as rising disposable incomes, dual-income households, and constant urbanisation have encouraged consumers across both developed and emerging economies to follow upcoming logistics trends. This has further resulted in the rapid development of retail channels requiring efficient inventory management and warehousing solutions for helping the customers to make informed purchase decisions.
Logistics companies are facing an era of unprecedented change as digitisation takes hold and customer expectations evolve. New technologies are enabling greater efficiency and more collaborative operating models; they are also re-shaping the marketplace in ways that are only just beginning to become apparent. New entrants, whether they be start-ups or the industry’s own customers and suppliers, are also shaking up the sector. New entrants in the form of start-ups make a bigger impact. The most challenging and costly last mile of delivery, in particular, becomes more fragmented, exploiting new technologies like the platform and crowd-sharing solutions. These start-ups collaborate with incumbents and complement their service offers. These start-ups are mostly producing innovations in shipping, SCM or the last mile delivery. These are some of the critical points that still need a better solution, speed and optimisation, because demand is focused on improvement in these areas.
Today’s businesses have increasingly become fast-paced. Highly demanding customers seek instant gratification on one side, and businesses, in a quest to do more with the finite resources on hand, try to optimise and accelerate their supply chain, on the other side. All this means not just larger volumes to process, but also a significant increase in the number of issues warehouse and logistics management needs to deal within a day. Side-by-side, competitive pressures means squeezed margins, leaving warehouses without the luxury of spending more to cater to the increased workload. Supply chains have grown incredibly complex over the years. Any supply chain progresses by initially delivering the raw materials from a supplier to a manufacturer and eventually ends by delivering the final product to the consumer. Proper implementation of supply chain management can result in benefits like increased sales and revenues, decreased frauds and overhead costs, quality improvisation. Moreover, this will also lead to accelerating production and distribution. Maintaining a supply chain is a tedious task even for small businesses. The interconnectivity of different elements in the supply chain gradually becomes more inefficient when a business grows. In order to resolve these inefficiencies and save a company’s money, different technologies like blockchain are being applied to SCM.