RK Foodland - Evolution of road Logistics Transportation
 

From the bustling markets of ancient India to the globalized supply chains of today, road logistics transportation has been the lifeblood of trade and commerce, delivering the products that keep our economy moving forward. Today, it is an integral part of the fabric of our society, touching every aspect of our lives and driving progress and prosperity. 

The evolution of road transportation in India is a story of remarkable progress and transformation. From the early days of bullock carts and hand-pulled rickshaws, to the modern network of smart highways and electric vehicles, the journey of road transportation in India is one of constant innovation and adaptation. It is a story of how a nation’s transportation system can drive economic growth, improve quality of life, and connect people and communities. It is a story of the indomitable human spirit, always striving for a better tomorrow. It is a story that is still being written, as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and chart a course towards a brighter, more sustainable future. 

According to data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, road transportation accounts for around 60% of the total freight movement in India, making it the dominant mode of logistics transportation in the country, outpacing rail, sea, and air freight combined. In fact, the road transportation sector in India employs over 22 million people, making it one of the largest employers in the country. The government’s National Highway Development Project has also invested heavily in the expansion and improvement of the country’s road network with approx. 7,234 km to be added this year, aiming to boost trade and commerce through more efficient transportation of goods. All of these factors combined demonstrate the vital importance of road logistics transportation to the Indian economy. 

To sum up the progress so far, here’s a quick overview: 

  

[1900 – 1947] Pre-Independence: From Foot to Hoof – How people and animals carried goods across the land 

 

Opportunities: 

  • Local and regional trade was facilitated by the use of hand-pulled rickshaws and animal-drawn carts, which allowed goods to be transported over short distances. 
  • The use of horse-drawn carriages and ox-drawn carts for transportation was relatively efficient, given the state of the road network at the time. 
  • These early forms of road transportation were relatively inexpensive and widely available, making them accessible to a wide range of people. 

Challenges: 

  • Road transportation was slow and labour-intensive, with goods being transported at a much slower pace than they are today. 
  • The use of animal-drawn carts and horse-drawn carriages was relatively inefficient, as the animals required rest and feeding, and the vehicles were limited in the amount of goods they could carry. 
  • The poor state of the road network at the time made transportation of goods by road a challenging and sometimes hazardous task. 

Drivers: 

  • Lack of advanced transportation infrastructure 
  • Limited availability of animal-drawn carts 

  

[1948 – 1960] Post-Independence: Building a Stronger Infrastructure – The rise of trucks and road development 

 

Opportunities: 

  • The expansion and improvement of the road network in India during this period facilitated the growth of the road transportation sector and made it easier to transport goods over longer distances. 
  • The adoption of motorized vehicles, such as trucks and semi-trailers, helped to make transportation of goods by road faster and more efficient, compared to traditional modes of transport such as animal-drawn carts and horse-drawn carriages. 
  • The growth of the road transportation sector in India during this period helped to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. 

Challenges: 

  • The use of motorized vehicles for the transportation of goods contributed to air pollution and other environmental problems. 
  • The road network in India was still relatively limited in comparison to other countries, and many areas remained difficult to access by road. 
  • There were also challenges related to the maintenance and repair of the road network, restricting reach and penetration to last mile areas. 

Drivers: 

  • Growing demand for efficient transportation of goods 
  • Increase in economic development and trade 

 

[1961 – 1991] Economic Liberalization: Upgrading to Modern Transportation – The use of advanced vehicles 

 

Opportunities: 

  • Increased trade and globalization led to a need for more advanced and efficient transportation options. 
  • The adoption of advanced vehicles, such as container trucks and refrigerated trucks, helped to improve the speed and reliability of road logistics transportation. 
  • Economic growth and development led to increased investment in the road transportation sector, including the expansion of the road network and the construction of new roads and highways. 

Challenges: 

  • There were still issues related to the maintenance and repair of the road network, as well as congestion and safety concerns. 
  • The use of advanced vehicles often came with higher costs, which could be a challenge for some small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • There were also environmental concerns related to the increased use of motorized vehicles. 

Drivers: 

  • Increased trade and globalization 
  • Economic growth and development 

 

[1992 – 2000] The Late 90s: Keeping Cool on the Road – The advent of temperature-controlled vehicles and infrastructure development 

 

Opportunities: 

  • Advancements in technology and refrigeration systems allowed for the development of temperature-controlled vehicles, which made it possible to transport perishable goods more safely and efficiently. 
  • The expansion and improvement of the road network in India during this period facilitated the growth of the road transportation sector and made it easier to transport goods over longer distances. 
  • The adoption of temperature-controlled vehicles helped to improve the quality and safety of perishable goods, and enabled the transportation of a wider range of products. 

Challenges: 

  • There were still issues related to the maintenance and repair of the road network, as well as congestion and safety concerns. 
  • The cost of temperature-controlled vehicles and the associated infrastructure could be a challenge for some small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • There were also environmental concerns related to the increased use of motorized vehicles. 

Drivers: 

  • Advancements in technology and refrigeration systems 
  • Growing demand for temperature-controlled transportation of goods such as perishable items 

 

Check out how food supply chains need to evolve to make the most of the National Logistics Policy (NLP)

 

[2001 – till date] Today: The Future is Now – How technology is revolutionizing the transportation industry 

 

Opportunities: 

  • Technological advancements in transportation, such as electric and autonomous vehicles, are helping to make road logistics transportation more efficient and sustainable. 
  • Increasing focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact has led to the development of cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles. 
  • Continuing growth in trade and globalization has created a need for faster and more reliable transportation options. 
  • Changes in consumer preferences towards convenience and speed have led to the development of new technologies and services, such as last-mile delivery and real-time tracking. 

Challenges: 

  • There are still issues related to the maintenance and repair of the road network, as well as congestion and safety concerns. 
  • The cost of implementing new technologies and infrastructure can be a challenge for some small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • There are also regulatory and legal challenges related to the adoption of new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles. 

Drivers: 

  • Technological advancements in transportation, such as electric and autonomous vehicles 
  • Increasing focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact 
  • Continuing growth in trade and globalization 
  • Changes in consumer preferences towards convenience and speed 

  

Going forward, the future of road transportation will be shaped by two important factors – technology and ESG. This has been driven by the push for cleaner, greener, and more technologically advanced modes of transportation. A greater emphasis is put on driver welfare as these drivers are the backbone of the logistics industry. A sustainable and comprehensive system is underway thanks to investments from the government and regulatory environment. As the road logistics transportation industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see the adoption of new technologies and the development of more efficient and sustainable transportation options. This will help to drive economic growth, improve quality of life, and connect people and communities in new and exciting ways. 

Experience the power of a reliable, efficient, and advanced road logistics network in India. Let us fulfil demand to your consumers on time, every time, with real-time visibility. 

 

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