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Chitransh Sahai
"We need to bridge the gap between SME and the suppliers thus enabling them to sell dynamically"

Chitransh Sahai
Co-Founder, GoComet

GoComet Creating Use Friendly Space In Logistics

January 30, 2018
Though the nation has been following the old-school model for decades, the new generation is carving new roads through digitalisation for developing new space in the logistics sector. Chitransh Sahai, Co- Founder, GoComet shares with us the ideology behind introducing user-friendly marketplace, challenges and vision for 2018.

By Namrata Nikale Tanna, Oil Asia Journal

OAJ - Could you describe the business structure of GoComet?
Sahai : GoComet can be described as a marketplace dealing with International freight which provides a logistics platform for suppliers and import & export companies. We are a product and Tech Company, a model that actively communicates with both ends, i.e. one ends comprises of importers & exporters whereas on the other hand, the system coordinates with the international freight forwarders to offer the best services along with the best end to end rates available in the market. The system also designs the offers considering various parameters of the business and the market scenario.

OAJ - With the country embracing the greatest tax reform — replacing an array of provincial duties with a nationwide goods and services tax, could you share the impact of the reforms on logistics industry of India?
Sahai : Though Goods & Service Tax had some impact on the market but it has turned out positive for the logistics sector. With the improvisation in GST rates, the international trading companies are able to demand better input credit, impacting the working capital eventually benefitting the logistics companies.

Secondly, GST brings in immense built-in transparency in the entire process compared to the earlier multiple taxes. Thus due to the introduction of the standard tax structure, the whole process has become transparent reducing the opacities faced by the logistics sector.

However, the sudden hike in tax structure has caused chaos in the market. An importer, who was earlier paying a service tax of 15 %, is suddenly payable GST of 18%. Apart from the importers are not receiving the remittance of GST, so for importers in India, it has unexpectedly turned out expensive to import on his Free On Board (FOB). Thus, given the circumstances, they may consider Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) incoterms imports.

Given the fact that we are now working in the global business environment, International GST shouldn’t include many tax slabs. The authorized body can frame the structure and comprise three tax slabs thus creating smooth functioning for everybody. Ideally, it should comprise of General tax slab, a higher tax slab to boost the local manufacturers and thirdly a tax to enhance the product in the global market. According to my knowledge, the government has five tax slabs thus adding to the chaos complexity in the market. As an organization, we would be glad to have a more transparent tax structure, less stringent compliance and reduced tax rates. This will eventually increase the efficiency of the entire process and result in a comfortable business environment.

OAJ - Despite the weak economic sentiments, the logistics industry continues to witness growth due to the growth in retail, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors; do you think this new trend will boost GoComet’s growth?
Sahai: The growth in retail, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors will certainly boost GoComet’s growth. We as an internet company are built on information symmetry, thus providing access to networking, giving a boost to logistics sector. The more access to visible data, the more SME’s will be able to trade domestically as well as internationally. The increase in trade is highly beneficial to GoComet’s growth.

Internet penetration in India is growing and there is still a huge number which we have to reach, so it should grow for the next ten years. In the current scenario, we are yet to even reach tier 2 and tier 3 cities so there is a long way for the industry to grow.

OAJ - Could you kindly share with us GoComet’s growth strategy in the coming years?
Sahai: We established GoComet with an intention to focus on small and medium-size business and provide this sector with the best of freight rates and services available in the market

The key to activation primarily depends on building an online platform as it develops a comfortable and easy system for an SME residing in the interiors of the country to make distribution. It is essential that we create and place an easy system for the consumers which will enable them to trade across the globe and not restrict themselves on the domestic levels.

OAJ - Could you shed some light on the current status of freight industry?
Sahai: There is a supply overhang with respect to the containers in the shipping industry. The oversupply of containers and with given circumstances in the International trade, the containers should suffice for next five years, provided the shipping organizations do not purchase or build any more containers.

The biggest challenge faced by the shipping industry is the lack of utilization of containers due to supply overhang. In order to overcome this challenge, we need to bridge the gap between SME and the suppliers thus enabling them to sell dynamically. GoComet is definitely keen on solving this issue in the long run.

OAJ - May we request you to highlight the challenges you faced while introducing a logistics management application as India is still an old-school model in certain industries?
Sahai: The export and import business is one of the most traditional and oldest industries in the world which is undergoing a lot of change. Though the complete revolution will take time and in the coming future, we can definitely expect immense improvisation in the traditional approach of the industry.

The new generation is introducing various ways and changing the traditional method with automation. We have to create a flexible and user-friendly product which can be easily adaptive in the industry that will help in improvising the business environment.

As far as GoComet, is considered, the major challenge for us was to develop a user-friendly product for the SME as well we midsize businesses. Secondly, it was essential to build and match the supply and demand scales in the marketplace. And, I can definitely say that we have tried to our best to create a product which will fit appropriately in the market.

OAJ - Of late, we believe the logistics infrastructure has gained a lot of attention both from business industry as well as policymakers, kindly share your opinion on the same and which reforms have proved extremely beneficial?
Sahai: In the current scenario, there are various new reforms which have proved beneficial for the industry. Amidst all of them, I would say the proposal to build a new JNPT terminal will be extremely beneficial for us in the future. The JNPT port is one of the busiest ports in the country and thus, it definitely needed improvised infrastructure which will ease present traffic situation.

OAJ - May we request you to address the major challenges since past few previous years for Shipping Industry in India and how will GoComet help in overcoming this challenges?
Sahai: The situation since past few years has been cyclical – wherein the market suffers from supply overhang, resulting in low supply rates which eventually increases the demand and bringing back the supply rates and according to me, the market is still recovering from the trench.

There was a boom expected in the market but due to various international factors it did not turn out as expected. The overall situation created an overhang in the supply market. But, I would say that the situation will improve in coming five years.
Presently, we have been able to build a platform for the vendors wherein they can get access to the clients for supply and the clients, on the other hand, are able to grab best supply rates & freight rates from the market, thus creating a win-win situation for everybody.

OAJ - What is your vision for 2018?
Sahai: We want to build India's Largest Freight Aggregator in 2018 and also create the best platform for the client to serve their shipping needs.

OAJ - Could you share with us the roadmap designed for GoComet in 2018?
Sahai: Our ecosystem of Freight Forwarders, Shippers, and Consignees is well built up. We want to move forward and now enable maximum number of transactions on it

Kindly throw light on the Challenges faced by Startups in the current business environment and also recommend solutions that can help to improvise the situation?
Sahai: It is essential that we focus on the employee selection; hiring the right people is a major challenge esp. in the early stage of a Startup. As a new organization in the industry, we also face similar problems, however in our case, the Angel List works well and using a mix of questions assessing the person's character and skill while hiring helps in developing an efficient team.

OAJ - Finally, is India ready for complete digitalization?
Sahai: Yes, it is ready for digitalization.

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