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"We Want South Asian Leadership"

News Clip : Cargo Times

November, 2002

Blue Dart is no longer with FedEx. That association spelt ontime and quality deliveries for customers. Now the new tie-up with DHL has to better the old brand equity

-Thomas C. Thottathil

"Blue Dart is looking at logistics very seriously and we have the technology that can manage inventory and software to Track and Trace shipments. We would manage logistics warehouses of our key players and also provide value addition for our clients"

It has been an eventful year for Blue Dart as it changed partners. This new alliance with DHL, valid for five years is a sales agreement. It provides Blue Dart the top opportunity to expand into other regions and consolidate its position. Clyde Cooper, Managing Director, Blue Dart spoke to CARGO TIMES on the new initiatives that they plan to undertake.

What's the nature of your tie-up with DHL?

It is purely a sales alliance. It provides our customers the DHL advantages of size, reach, flexibility and infrastructure. Way back in 1993 we had undertaken a vision exercise to determine the future direction of the company. Our goal was to be the leader in the South Asian region encompassing all the SAARC countries. In India we have a marketshare of 38 per cent and this alliance that's valid for five years gives both parties the advantage to improve profitability and provide each other's customers value added services.

What's it that went wrong with FedEx? Some say it was an uneasy alliance since the start itself?

In July 2001, our board of directors took a decision to relook the terms and conditions of our alliance with FedEx. It was decided that the agreement with FedEx would not be extended in its present form. The alliance did not allow us to expand as there were too many restricions. FedEx perceived our expansion as competition for them and also other issues, which I do not want to dwell at the moment. So we had to part ways. We do not have a global vision and our focus is to concentrate on the South Asian markets. Our alliance with DHL will provide us with the opportunity to pursue this vision.

You are the market leader in aviation infrastrucure. Do you plan to expand on this?

At the moment we have three aircraft in operation and the load factor is 86 per cent. We carry approximately 100-105 tonnes daily and has cornered 75 per cent of the domestic traffic. So we see ample opportunities. We have permision to acquire two more aircraft for freighter business and we are looking at flying daily into Dubai. We plan to explore trans-border opportunities and can provide dedicated value added services for Middle East carriers.

What is the size of the domestic courier market and at what rate is it growing?

People estimate the business to be about Rs 1,200 crore with the organised sector valued at Rs 800-900 crore. This excludes the logistics business which we feel is quite huge with players like Concor, TNT, UPS all entering the fray.

What are your plans for the logistics market?

Blue Dart is looking at logistics very seriously and we have technology that can manage inventory and software to Track and Trace shipments. We would manage logistics warehouses of our key players and also provide value addition for our clients. What we do will naturally be an extension of what we already know about the logistics business. We will emerge as a leading player in this segment in the years to come.

You spoke about expanding to other SAARC countries. What have your plans for those markets?

We have a presence in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal but we have not developed it to our potential. As we are out of our arrangement with FedEx it would give us the freedom to expand in these markets.

With a 38 per cent market share do you feel that complacency may settle in your organisation

We track every shipment and with a formidable array of technological aids assist staff, grievances of our customers are addressed in the shortest possible time. Reports reach the senior management and they take timely action. We believe that there is no room for complacency.

What should be the government's role in promoting this industry?

The road infrastructure is improving and the key problems are at the airports.The government needs to look at express and airline industry as trade infrastructure and they could be better managed.

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