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Coronavirus pandemic | Logistics sector divided over impact but worries remain

The fear is that the temporary spike in demand may be followed by a slowdown due to supply constraints.

March 17, 2020 / 02:28 PM IST

Indian logistics startups are faced with uncertainty over the impact of the coronavirus--they may see a temporary spike in demand as people stock up but it may be followed by a slowdown due to supply constraints.

The logistics space--broadly divided into ecommerce delivery, trucking and overseas freight transport --are all battling unique challenges and are unable to ascertain the impact of the highly contagious virus that has now spread to 150 countries and territories.

For instance, mobile phones and electronics are the largest selling categories on ecommerce portals. But in China, which is the manufacturer of most of these phones and the epicentre of the outbreak, factories have been shut for two months, making delivery startups such as Delhivery, Ecom Express and Xpressbees nervous.

“Our numbers saw a bit of slowdown in February. But volumes could have an impact of around 10-15 percent during March and April. If supply from China is not resumed and inventory gets exhausted, then the industry could feel the pressure,” said K Satyanarayana, co-founder and director, Ecom Express.