Delhivery has acquired Volvo FM 4×2 tractor-trailer combination for its long haul requirements.

Story by Deven Lad

When Volvo Trucks first entered India, its prime focus was on the long-haul truck segment, albeit at the top end of it. With its FH, FM and even a few examples of FL tractor-trailer units, the company managed to secure a footing. Setting the wheels of transformation in progress in the Indian trucking industry in the process, Volvo found takers among a few big fleets and Government PSUs — oil marketing companies especially. Mustering the confidence to set up a local assembly operation at Bangalore, the Swedish truck maker found a bigger calling in the mining sector. Coming to hold a market share of almost 90 per cent in the heavy-duty mining trucks segment that is used to carry especially overburden, the company has found itself in the highway long-haul segment once again. It’s almost 20 years later and with a huge change in infrastructure when compared to 1996. Delhivery, leading e-commerce and B2B logistics player in India has found use for the FM 4×2 tractor-trailer combination in its fleet.

Established in 2011, Delhivery is claimed to have a fleet size of over 15000 vehicles. As one of the leading e-commerce and B2B logistics players, its fleet is known to clock the highest mileage in the country with 24 automated sorting centres, over 85 fulfilment centres, 70 hubs, over 3000 direct delivery centres, over 5000 partner centres and a staff of over 40000 people. With a modern infrastructure, engineering and technology capabilities to boast of, the company has taken to some 11 Volvo FM 4×2 tractor-trailer combinations in its growing fleet. The arrangement between it and Volvo Trucks is said to be such that a total of 25 Volvo FM 4×2 tractor-trailers combinations will eventually make it to the Delhivery fleet. Operating on two routes at present — between Delhi NCR and Bangalore, and between Delhi NCR and Gauhati, the Volvo FM 4×2 tractor-trailers are made up of 43 feet closed-body trailers.

Lower TCO and faster turnaround

Running e-commerce and B2B long-hauls for Delhivery, the Volvo FM trucks are expected to deliver on lower TCO (in-turn higher productivity) and faster turnaround. Known for their technology, reliability and efficiency, the Volvo trucks are also expected to deliver the kind of efficiency and unleash the kind of revenue earning potential that is found in Europe. Utilising trailers that offer higher capacity of roughly 93 cu. m., the entire equation is claimed to be based on the ability of the vehicles to run 20 hours a day and 300,0000 kms in a year. With many trucks from Delhivery known to do about 20,000 kms in a month, this target does not seem quite out of place for the Volvo trucks to achieve. The only variable in this is the infrastructure, disruptions and unprecedented developments.

To support Delhivery’s efforts to build a vital link in a global supply chain, according to Sahil Barua, the company’s chief executive office and co-founder, the Volvo trucks in the Delhivery fleet are expected to help achieve greater efficiency levels. Confident of the interchangeable containers helping it to become the next link in a global supply chain, Delhivery, said Barua, is hopeful of the tractor-trailer revolutionising the logistic industry. Hoping that the Volvo FM 4×2 tractor-trailer combinations will outpace the current range of tractor-trailer combinations available in the country, Delhivery is counting on a significant change in its logistics capabilities by adopting powerful, technologically superior and costlier trucks. “By delivering efficiency and productivity which is more than double compared to the current range of tractors in India, we are looking at a significant progress,” averred Barua.

Reliability, comfort and trailer interchange

Of the opinion that the Volvo tractor-trailer combination will enable Delhivery to forward its business ambitions of reducing the delivery times for its customers, Vinod Aggarwal, Managing Director & CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd., which distributes and services Volvo Trucks in India, averred that the Volvo trucks are reliable, driver-friendly and capable of leading to superior man-machine performance. Drawing attention to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) change of regulation allowing trailer interchangeability, Aggarwal expressed that he is banking on a significant jump in productivity with the use of Volvo trucks. “At least that of 20 per cent,” he added. Per-Erik Lindstrom, Senior Vice President – Volvo Trucks International, said that countries like China changed from rigid trucks to high performance and higher capacity tractor-trailer concepts in-line with infrastructure development, and India is on the same path.

Hoping for more

Operating in over 2300 cities and across over 17,500 pin codes, Delhivery, with its fleet covering a distance of over 500,000 kms every day, is looking at the Volvo tractor-trailer combination. It is looking at significant cost savings over the last nine months by inducting the 11 FM 4×2 vehicles in its fleet. Currently doing 20,000 kms a month on an average, Delhivery is looking at clocking more distance with the improvement in infrastructure and the economic environment post the Covid-19 pandemic. Seeking advantage of changes like the ETC lanes at toll, which cut down-time wastage at thousands of toll booths along Indian highways and other roads,  Delhivery is betting high on the Volvo trailer combination.

To deploy a total of 26 Volvo trucks, and in connection with the winds of change blowing in the e-commerce space in India, Delhivery is looking at each Volvo truck being driven for no less than 20 hours a day with a set of drivers onboard. Powered by 380 hp, 12.8 litres in-line six-cylinder Volvo D13A380 diesel engine and an ‘I-Shift’ AMT transmission, for Volvo trucks this should be no tough feat though much would depend on the infrastructure, driver training and motivation, and an ability to such trucks with service costs expected to be higher than the other tractor-trailers out there. The big highlight of the Volvo trucks is their ability to let the driver concentrate on what he should be concentrating on in the first place. Thus offering him with a comfortable, spacious, ergonomically well-sorted workplace, the Volvo FM trucks are expected to drive a considerable transformation at Delhivery as far as its fleet is concerned. Not that it is not modern, but the inclusion of these Volvo trucks is going to change it forever.

Laced with telematics, the BSVI Volvo trucks are expected to let Delhivery chart strong growth amid a shifting market environment in India with the presence of Covid-19 virus. Drawing attention towards the recent GSR No. 414 (E) of MoRTH on roadtrains and an amendment of Rule 93 with regard to the standardisation of motor vehicle dimensions in-line with the international standards, Aggarwal mentioned that Volvo trucks will support Delhivery in their goal, setting in the process a fine example of safety, comfort and higher productivity.  Expecting a significant shift to larger tractor-trailers in the express trucking space in India, Barua mentioned that fewer vehicles will move more cargo, saving in the process fuel consumption, occupy less road space and emit less. Stating that his company is driving a big change in the country’s logistics space by investing in modern infrastructure (it is building India’s largest trucking terminals at key locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore), Barua mentioned that it is bringing in more partner fleets.

 

The MoRTH GSR No.414 (E) of June 26, 2020, pertains to Roadtrains and the amendment of Rule 93 relating to the dimensions of motor vehicles under CMVR 1989. As per the GSR, the Rule 93 amendment would provide for standardisation of dimensions of motor vehicles in-line with the international standards with the aim to improve logistical efficiency. It would also enable the carriage of extra passengers or extra cargo due to enhanced dimensions without exceeding the prescribed weight. As per the GSR, in case of truck-trailers (tractor-trailers) engaged by auto manufacturers to carry motor vehicles, construction equipment, etc., and by others to carry livestock, white goods, etc., with a closed body, the overall height should not exceed 4.75 m. Roadtrains with length on par with the European ones that measure 25 m each as two units bound together, are proposed for running on select routes in the GSR. In the GSR, the length of the trailers (in the ‘T’ category) has been amended from 18 m to 18.75 m to accommodate ISO standards containers of 45 ft. The height of the trailer has been amended from 3.8 m to four-metre except in certain cases as exceptions. In the GSR, semi-trailers carrying ISO series (freight containers), fabricated (refrigerated containers) or having a containerized body will not exceed  4.52 m in the overall height.  In the case of mechanical trailers carrying goods of exceptional length (windmill blades, etc.,), the GSR has proposed trailers with extendable length.

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