Ecom Express Ramps Up Infra, Hires Seasonal Workers To Deal With Festive Rush

Ecom Express has doubled its capacity to over four million sq. ft.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Ecom Express facility in Surat. (Source: BQPrime)</p></div>
Ecom Express facility in Surat. (Source: BQPrime)

Ecom Express, a logistics and warehousing solutions provider for e-commerce industry, has doubled its capacity to over four million sq. ft. to deal with a surge in demand for shipping parcels during the festive season.

A significant portion of investments into expansion has taken place in 14 cities, including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Surat, Jaipur, Indore and Bhubaneshwar, the company said in a statement. Backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and the Partners Group, the company serves more than 27,000 PIN codes through 3,000 last-mile delivery centres.

The Gurugram-based company also automated majority of its sort centre facilities, increasing its package processing capacity to six million a day.

“We are seeing tremendous growth in tier III and beyond markets and these have been at the forefront of e-commerce growth,” said TA Krishnan, founder and chief executive officer, Ecom Express.

In the past two years, he said, the company has witnessed demand almost double with 80% of the deliveries happening in tier III and beyond as the frontiers of e-commerce advance. “There is a huge amount of growth yet to be realised here with rising disposable income, growing internet penetration, and emerging direct-to-consumer brands,” said Krishnan.

According to Ecom Express’ internal data, the order volume during the upcoming festive week is expected to increase by 60-65% from the usual months with 45-50% parcel pickup from tier III and IV cities.

To cater to the peak festive season rush, Ecom Express has also hired seasonal staff and onboarding gig-workers, a 35% jump from last year. About 60-65% of the hiring is for tier III-IV cities and remote parts of the country, said Krishnan.

Ecom Express competes with Delhivery, Ekart Logistics, Xpressbees, Shadowfax as well as traditional logistics companies such as Gati, FedEx and Blue Dart. Earlier, Delhivery had announced plans to create over 75,000 seasonal jobs pan-India between September and October.

Of the total, Delhivery will hire about 10,000 off-roll employees across its gateways, warehouses, and last-mile delivery centres.

The company will also double down on its various partner programmes by onboarding individual bikers, local retailers, business partners, and transporters, it said in a statement early September.

Delhivery has also expanded its infrastructural footprint by a million sq. ft. in the first quarter of FY23 and has beefed up parcel sortation capacity by 1.5 million shipments a day to, said its Chief Operating Officer Ajith Pai.

Online retailers have seen relatively muted sales of late, thanks to high inflation and reopening of offline stores.

The festive season, according to Bernstein, is crucial for e-tailing platforms, led by Amazon and Flipkart, as it drives about 40% of their annual sales.

Consulting firm Redseer expects e-commerce retailers to garner sales worth $11.8 billion this festive season, an increase of 28% from 2021 and more than double the pre-pandemic 2019 figure of $5 billion, as deal-hungry consumers look to splurge after two Covid-stricken years.

Walmart-owned Flipkart will kick-start its flagship Big Billion Days on Sept. 23 for eight days. Amazon is also set to launch its annual Great Indian Festival on the same day. Flipkart-backed Myntra has also expanded brand offerings and is geared up to handle 13,000 orders per minute at peak, the company said in statement. American department store chain Macy’s, the operator of hundreds of fashion stores in the U.S., is set to enter India through the homegrown marketplace in the run-up to the festive season.

Myntra CEO Nandita Sinha expects six million customers to shop from its festive fashion event—The Big Fashion Festival — that kicks off from Sept 23.