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Sustainable logistics: Green Revolution: Porter’s VP-Trucks discusses the role of EVs in achieving sustainable logistics and reducing costs


The government’s ambitious targets, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2070 and reducing logistics costs to sub-8% of GDP, underscore the urgency.

As the Vice-President-Trucks at Porter, Manish Gupta discusses the pressing need for a green logistics ecosystem amid India’s sustainability drive, the role of multimodal integrated transportation and digitisation and highlighting the potential 6% cost reduction through ZET vehicles, amongst others, with Sobia Khan of ET, Excerpts…

Could you shed light on the increasing demand for and the significance of nurturing a green logistics ecosystem, especially in the context of India’s broader sustainability initiatives?

The Indian government is strategically committed to fostering greener and more sustainable logistics. Our national target is achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 while reducing logistics costs to below 8% of GDP, aligning with global standards. Embracing multimodal integrated transportation and digitisation is pivotal for faster goods movement and cost-efficient logistics. To reach our net-zero goal, transitioning to greener fuels and technology is imperative. The shift to Zero Emission Transportation (ZET) alone can slash logistics costs by 6% and adopting greener fuels and electric vehicles (EVs) can significantly reduce the 14% carbon emissions contributed by trucks.

In the current landscape, EV adoption is crucial for advancing a green logistics ecosystem. How, in your perspective, does the widespread adoption of EVs contribute to achieving a more sustainable logistics sector?

The adoption of EVs plays a pivotal role in greening the logistics sector. Depending on vehicle type and age, EVs boast approximately 40% lower carbon emissions than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. They are almost twice as energy-efficient as regular ICE vehicles and operate at a fuel cost 20% lower than fossil fuels. EV adoption not only supports cost-effective logistics but also enhances efficiency while significantly reducing carbon emissions. The growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and urban commerce will continue to drive the expansion of road logistics in India.

What, in your view, are the major hurdles logistics companies like Porter encounter? Additionally, how have government plans and policies played a role in addressing these challenges and driving India’s Green Revolution?

Logistics companies encounter several challenges in EV onboarding, including limited availability of long-range, economical, high-load-carrying vehicles, lukewarm adoption due to high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and inadequate charging infrastructure. Government support, evident through initiatives like FAME-II, incentives for manufacturing and adopting EVs, and the development of charging infrastructure, has been crucial. State governments, such as Delhi, have eased restrictions, encouraging the adoption of EVs for logistics.

What factors influence the scaling up of EV adoption for Porter in the future?

The scalability of EV adoption for us is contingent on several factors. While platforms like ours provide enhanced utilization opportunities for EVs compared to the unorganized sector, scaling up will depend on the availability and pricing of vehicles, the ease and cost of financing, and the development of supporting infrastructure. Currently, we have approximately 5,000+ EVs operating on the Porter platform. The majority of these EVs are actively serving in the cities of Delhi and Bangalore. Our electrification efforts primarily focus on the 2W (two-wheelers) and 3W (three-wheelers) categories. These categories align with our strategy to leverage the benefits of EVs in last-mile logistics.

How does Porter plan to extend its footprint beyond the current cities?

We aspire to have a more extensive presence across the country, with future expansion contingent upon robust infrastructure support and the availability of suitable vehicles. Additionally, we are actively evaluating opportunities in smaller Tier-II cities where there is a higher demand for smaller vehicles and a relatively lower supply. EVs can play a pivotal role in filling this gap. At present, Porter operates in 20 cities across India, offering a diverse range of vehicle categories from 2W to 14ft. Our strategic plan involves a more comprehensive penetration into the existing cities, addressing evolving customer needs, and ensuring smooth and efficient deliveries across the board.

Moving on to the market outlook, what is the anticipated growth for the logistics sector in 2024?

We expect the Indian logistics sector to witness a growth of approximately 7-8% in 2024. This growth is predominantly fueled by the e-commerce, retail, and FMCG sectors. The government’s emphasis on cost efficiency through digitization, standardization, and green fuels aligns with our objectives. Furthermore, positive signs in domestic urban demand, considering the state of the economy, contribute to an optimistic outlook. We anticipate a stable and growth-oriented government in the coming year.

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