Logistics firms on hiring spree, looking for up to 50,000 gig workers to expand capacity for festive season

(C) Provided by The Financial Express Logistics firms are on a hiring spree while also looking to expand capacity.

Image: Bloomberg

Logistics firms are on a hiring spree, with a few of them looking to hire up to 50,000 gig workers while also looking to expand capacity in view of the increasing order volumes and sales surge during the festive season. "We see a rise in our hiring by about 20-25 per cent over last year to meet the surge in demand. The hiring is for temporary associates and other permanent staff for future requirements," said Vineet Agarwal, MD, Transport Corporation of India (TCI). The business volume in the second quarter is 'typically 20-25 per cent higher' than in the first quarter, according to TCI.

Hiring temp staff for all-India coverage The last two festive seasons were marred by the pandemic, and the pent up demand has taken the online as also the offline retail by storm. A recent report by Redseer said that online sales are expected to register a 28 per cent year-on-year growth to reach £11.8 billion during the festive month.

And this naturally increases the business and service demand for the logistics firms. "We have grown by 80-100 per cent from last year and in preparation for the festive season, we are planning to hire more than 50,000 riders. We also intend to grow to 100 per cent of Indian pin codes over the coming 12 months and are adding our warehousing capacity in line with the same, " said Abhishek Bansal, CEO and Co-founder, Shadowfax. Also Read: Realtors plan to hike home prices further

"As festival season inches closer, we are ramping up our hiring and increasing our capacity to facilitate orders for our clients and meet demands. We are focusing on hiring gig workers, increasing capacity, and expanding our operations at new locations in preparation for the upcoming festival season," said Shailesh Kumar, Founder CABT Logistics. The company has launched a delivery partner programme as well under which it is hiring more than 15,000 gig workers to boost the company's delivery capabilities.

It's also adding up many rapid delivery points across key metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, while investing in automation, increasing warehouse capacity and adding EVs in the delivery fleet. Part-time, freelance hiring, productivity optimisation on cards With expected sales surge of 10-50 per cent across product categories during the festive season, Shipsy is onboarding part-time and freelance delivery executives, and is working to ensure 14 per cent more deliveries per driver.

It is optimising vehicle capacity utilisation by 31 per cent, said Soham Chokshi, CEO and Co-founder, Shipsy. The festive season in India contributes to one-third of the overall annual sales value, he said. Stellar Value Chain Solutions, meanwhile, is also going for a 'higher workforce combined with higher productivity' to handle the festive sales surge.

"Our average space at each location is over 2,00,000 sqft and we can house multiple clients at the same location. Our infrastructure provides a basic ceiling height of at least 12 meters. We have a pan-India strategic footprint across 21 centres which caters to over 80 per cent of the country's demand," said Anshuman Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, Stellar Value Chain Solutions.

What's driving the consumers to shop online more are factors like same day or next day delivery, free shipping, discount offers and also special membership privileges, etc. Where is the demand coming from? In terms of segments, quick commerce merchants are driving most sales and are upgrading their logistics and warehousing capacity and volume. "The theme of this festive season is centered around same-day and next-day delivery, which requires manpower, ground coordination and space planning in order to deliver on the quick delivery promise," said Punit Gupta, CEO & Co-Founder, EasyEcom.

And for categories, electronics is a category that sees a huge surge because of the festive discounts. Besides this, apparel sale is also something that witnesses monumental growth during the festive sale, said Rahul Mehra, Co Founder, Roadcast. Meanwhile, Zaiba Sarang, Co-founder, iThink Logistics, added, "This year, we can expect to get more orders in product categories like home appliances, technology products,gifting items that fall under the food category and non-food category and anything related to home & interior." In terms of geographies, besides metros, tier-II towns have grown exponentially and logistics firms are now expanding their capacities and delivery fleet in these areas.

Rise in freight costs? With the current inflation, rising fuel costs, etc, even as freight cost is projected to rise, the logistics firms are strategizing to work around this with a number of measures. Many are deploying electric vehicles to reduce costs, going for improved route efficiencies and better utilization of existing resources to ensure cost savings and business sustenance. "By maximizing average deliveries per trip, it reduces travel costs by taking into account constraints such as delivery time, type, location, etc.

Combining this with intelligent en route order clubbing can reduce fuel costs by 12 per cent, shrink transportation costs by more than 30 per cent, and increase deliveries by 14 per cent," said Shailesh Kumar.