Blue Dart's Ground Hub At Bhiwandi.

News Clip : The Hindu Business Line.

27th October, 2003.

Leveraging its strategic importance

BHIWANDI on the outskirts of Mumbai, is famous as a power loom centre. A less known fact is its importance as a transporters' hub. Poorna village in Bhiwandi lies outside the octroi zone and has emerged as an important warehousing hub for traditional transport companies.

In view of its strategic importance, Blue Dart, the air express player, set up a ground hub in the village in 1991, when the area lacked even the basic infrastructure. "We had to start from scratch... Given the lack of stable electricity supply, we had to install generator sets to sustain our operations," says Mr Arun S Kulkarni, Senior Vice-President, Administration and Ground Operations for Blue Dart.

Over the years, the company has acquired containerised vehicles and even set up a V-SAT facility on site to meet the company's Customs requirement online. Recently the company upgraded this warehousing facility at an investment of Rs.80 lakh.

"The upgrade was in response to our growing customer requirements, which are focussed on our air network," he said. Under the upgradation project, the warehouse area has been expanded to 20,000 sq ft area and the interiors have been finished along global lines, with galvanised tin roofing for the shed and special loading platforms(palettes).

All this supports the integration of surface and air transport, improving the turnaround time. "We now handle around time. "We now handle around 60 vehicles with a capacity of 3 tonnes in five hours in a time-definite schedule," he said. Also, shipments can be moved on 'N' forms directly to JNPT. Following the upgradation, the facility also has scratch-resistant flooring environment-friendly lighting and dedicated transformers.

Bhiwandi's proximity to Mumbai(about two hours by road), and the city's international airport mean that shipment from several cities in the western region, such as Pune, Vapi and Surat, can be shipped to their destinations in a time-bound manner.

The facility is also used to deliver shipments from Mumbai to the rest of the country, which includes products such as computer hardware, consumer durables, pharma, telecom and electronics goods.

According to Mr Kulkarni, several automobile, cell phone and electronics companies located outside Mumbai and who are its clients have benefited from the warehousing facility. Bhiwandi town, in fact, plays host to the warehouses of several MNC CNF agencies, he added.

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