Starting as a simple transporter and now becoming an integrated logistics partner of choice for several large MNCs and Indian supply chain businesses, NTC Group’s market leading position in project and renewable logistics builds upon its expertise in offering end-to-end solutions with the integration of its in-house engineering and warehousing capabilities. NTC Group today is a conglomerate of NTC Logistics, Power Press engineering, SCINNTC, Shreevari Energy systems, Everrenew Energy, NTC Infra, and NTC Institute of Driver Training & Research (IDTR). K Chandramohan, Chairman & Managing Director of the group informs Upamanyu Borah more on their ability to solve some of the complex logistically challenging projects with their potential level of commitment and expertise.
Given NTC’s front-line role in steering the country’s logistics industry, how did you adapt to the various scenarios during the pandemic to get businesses going?
The pandemic has proven that customers truly depend on the players who can offer continued services even during these testing times. Our commitment and ability to complete some of the logistically challenging heavy lift projects even during the crisis in India as well as in Srilanka has earned us immense appreciation. These projects involve supply chain activities like chartering vessels from various countries, domestic transportation of critical packages, handling activities at multiple ports, construction and setting up of large renewable projects, compliance with all safety requirements, and above all, ensuring completion within the stipulated timelines.
How do you structure high-performance teams and tech-driven innovation internally to get the most out of your people?
NTC as a multi-national group is built strongly on the values of customer service excellence and innovative product offerings. Delivering economies of scale is the epicenter of all our solutions and services. We have a vastly experienced technical team and business infrastructure to continuously improve and expand into new niches. After years of successful India operations, today NTC offers services beyond the country’s boundaries.
NTC products rise to prominence in the purview of organisations who strive to save operational costs and increase overall efficiency. With the expertise of our R&D team, we have developed technologically advanced transportation equipment. To add to our strength, we have also introduced first-of-its-kind rotor blade and tower adapters for wind turbine haulage as well as gantry cranes transport, with overall capacity to handle up to 720 metric tonnes.
These unique assets sets us apart as the ideal single partner with full-cycle management capabilities in-house to handle complex end-to-end supply chain operations.
What benefits can clients expect only from NTC’s project logistics services?
NTC has been a market leader in project logistics as well as integrated logistics services. We offer cost effective logistics solutions and an entire gamut of value-added services, designed with the customer in mind. We’ve also executed mission-critical projects for space research and heavy industries.
We have been a trend setter in the use of adaptive technology and digitisation. We are amongst the few in project logistics to introduce AI and ML technology which seamlessly integrates across our processes and functions. We use advanced positioning system to track and trace shipments and carriers; our control room in Chennai monitors drivers and vehicles 24×7. Our functionalities also include preventive monitoring like collision control amongst many other monitoring dashboards and reports.
What projects are you currently working on? What is the strength of your ground workforce at present and how are they helping ramp up your projects?
We are currently working on some large domestic and international projects in industries such as oil and gas, infrastructure, power and renewable energy in India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia. These are at various stages of implementation.
Our ground force of over 3000 employees across 32 locations in South and East Asia are engaged with niche partners and network members to design unique solutions with the customer in mind.
In your opinion, what is the difference between the project logistics landscape of other Asian countries and India?
Every country has unique challenges and opportunities in terms of regulatory, environmental, compliance and standards. The available external infrastructure and service maturity has a broad spectrum across Asia. The demographic dividend of the young Indian work force presents collaboration opportunities for Asian customers and service partners to leverage the best practices and innovative solution design.
With AEO accreditation, NTC is in a strong position to represent customer needs with Customs and border authorities while also offering consultancy services.
What is the scope of your capabilities with regard to your dedicated facilities- warehouse, CFSs and ICDs down South as well as across the country’s vast hinterland?
We offer stand-alone near shoring, multi-user FTWZs and integrated services with our SCINNTC partner network across India for scalable solutions- specialised chemical warehouses, e-commere fullfilment centres and regional distribution centres.
We also have strategic MoU with several CFS and ICD units to cater to our customers inland storage and transportation needs.
Breakbulk cargo transport requires that a number of uncertainties be well managed to mitigate risk of damages, missed key connections and accrued delay penalties. How efficiently have you strategised and aligned the process of cargo movement management?
Breakbulk cargo operations require a lot of pre-planning. We have predefined certain SOPs and checklists and the team adheres to the same to mitigate the risk and the enroute concerns.
The controllable factors like selection of vehicles, secure packaging, placement of the package, lashing it with verified calculation, EHS monitoring with safety officers assigned for the movement, pre-planning with contractors for civil work, application for power shut-downs, and advance road and railway permissions helps us to meet our time-bound action plans with efficency.
Whereas, theuncontrollable factors like aligning to the revised placement dates with vehicles, vessel/barge laycans, and navigable windows pose major challenges of commercial risk. However, the experience of handling critical and sensitive cargo over the past two decades makes us the preferred logistics player with capability to manage even uncontrollable situations with our expert manpower and technology-based planning tools that gives us an edge over the competition and ensures we are aligned to all timelines.
Today, a handful of smaller ocean cargo gateways in India are becoming competitive specialists in accommodating breakbulk. How do you contribute to the overall objective?
We have the opportunity to offer flexi gateway solution, to minimise the lead times and upgrade first and last-mile delivery timelines. Several service options are on the anvil to provide a wider choice and reduce the overall logistics spend of our clients whilst balancing the delivery schedules and and cost outlay.
We have also been involved with various ports to offer temporary infrastructure upgrades for specific project execution.
What is the rationale behind NTC’s roll out of SCINNTC Supply Chain Solutions and Everrenew Energy? What is the importance of the affiliates within the strategy of NTC?
It is my vision to make NTC a truly versatile logistics player that offer tailor-made solutions fulfiling all the supply chain requirements.
SCINNTC, an offshoot of NTC Group, is a technology-oriented supply chain company that is committed to providing next-gen supply chain and storage solutions.
Having excelled in renewable logistics, Everrenew was a natural logical consequence of the group’s expansion and diversification plans. Providing one-stop-shop solution- from data analysis, land procurement, civil and electrical development of the farm to installation and commissioning the plant is what Everrenew offers to renewable energy sector customers.
Advancements in automation and digitalisation will have a profound impact on the logistics workforce. How do you see NTC evolving alongside ever-new tech deployments?
NTC invests highly in empowering itself with digital technology. We are making substantial investments to provide hi-tech fulfilment centers, last-mile hubs for delivery and distribution, and also for end-to-end visibility and real-time tracking.
Over the years, NTC’s core team has rolled out technology solutions for various large and medium organisations to derive productivity, cost-efficiency, scalability, asset optimisation, reliability and consistency.
Recently, NTC was ranked 8th globally among specialised transport companies. This honour was conferred to NTC in the IC T50 global rankings by KHL Group- world’s largest provider of international construction information. It is a defining moment in the legacy of NTC, to be the first and the only Indian company to enter the top 10 in the latest IC T50 rankings. This ranking is based exclusively on the assessment of the companies in terms of their total asset strength including different types of hydraulic axles, pullers, trailers, specialised transportation equipment, cranes, etc.
How does NTC Institute of Driver Training & Research (IDTR) orient domain/classroom training to help in-house as well as the external workforce overcome complex situations and solve real-world problems, especially in a country like India with sub-par physical infrastructure?
We have been pioneering in our efforts to impart formal training to the driver community. IDTR is a specialised institute in India, which has developed an innovative method of training and grooming over dimensional cargo vehicle drivers to become Captains.
The modules/syllabus are designed specifically keeping in mind the nomadic nature of truck drivers. The training programs advocates on driving skills, road safety awareness as well as importance of health and wellness. It mainly focuses on creating customer-oriented skilled assets and ensuring accident-free and safe operations with low costs.
IDTR has also partnered with NSDC to create skill development initiatives for youth in various technical courses.
What significant changes and developments are you expecting/predicting for the country’s logistics industry over the next five years?
There are multiple policy changes expected to change the way maritime, road and rail logistics is carried out in India. With ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ expected to shake up the major economic indicators like manufacturing, the country’s strengths that depend upon its fast expanding roadways connecting the major production hubs and the ports for movement of cargo, major inland waterways, and dedicated freight corridor network will play an important role in deciding the pace at which logistics players leverage the desired developments. We see these developments crucial in building India as a 5 trillion dollar economy.
With key nodal agencies taking proactive measures to strengthen the cooperation between the users and the government by understanding the demand for key policy changes that ensures best optimisation of our resources will help reduce the risk of operation delays, propel productivity and ensure that the end-users are equally benefitted.