I present to you the Annual Report for the financial year 2021-22. The year gone bypresented its challenges and I take pride in stating that your Company not only overcamethese but also emerged successful in achieving its highest ever profitability. The firstquarter of the fiscal presented a daunting scenario wherein the pandemic again raised itsugly head and this time different states had implemented their own differing policies tomanage its brunt. Transportation activity was being permitted across the country howeverbusiness volumes had plummeted thereby presenting us with a grim scenario of patchy demandacross the country. We were better prepared and having learnt our lessons in the earlieryear we could respond better to these challenges.
The Company had reported a loss of Rs.6.04 crores during the first quarter ended June2021. The subsequent opening up of the markets presented us new opportunities and ourproper planning helped us to achieve higher freight volumes in the subsequent quarters.The Company's resilience was aptly demonstrated given that we closed the fiscal with ahealthy profitability of Rs.160.11 crores for the full financial year. Freight volumesincreased considerably and there is a consolidation phase that our industry is goingthrough. Many of the small fleet owners could not sustain the pandemic presentedchallenges and have either curtailed their operations drastically or have completelyclosed down. Organized operators like your Company stood to benefit from these and thissame is expected in the current year as well.
I have been lamenting about the lack of strength in the implementation of GST laws inmy earlier annual messages and this time around I am happy to state that the enforcementof the GST law has gathered teeth and this is expected to only further strengthen in thenear medium term. The implementation of the e-waybill provisions is being monitored andregulated meticulously across India by the enforcement authorities and the gradualreduction of thresholds for e-invoicing is expected to further bring more and more smalland mid-size businesses into the GST compliant fold. This will again present a goodbusiness opportunity to organized players like us given that the significant portion ofour business is sourced from the MSME businesses. It would not be out of place to mentionhere that we have now startedgettingsignificantvolumes of commodities such as leathergoods betel nut coconut products incense products which were earlier not being moved byus and were the exclusive domain of the unorganized sector. Your management was cautiousabout network expansion given the constraints of local competition and unhealthyuncompliant competition. However given the above developments we have now decided toaggressively push for network expansion in areas where our presence is limited. We haveidentified several locations in Eastern India for opening up new branches as also certaintowns and areas in the vicinity of our existing network that present potential to garneradditional freight volume. Our regional incharges were tasked with the identification ofsuch newer markets for us and we commenced our branch expansion in the second half of thefinancial year. By the end of the fiscal we have already added 91 branches and would lookat further expansion into select pockets of Eastern India as also the North EasternStates. We would also look to improve our network density in existing geographies. Allthese would lead to addition of many new customers and help servicing existing customersfor their business in the area covered by our new branches.
To back the expansion plans we have also firmed up a massive 1600 vehicle order withTata Motors and Ashok Leyland for the supply of vehicles of varying sizes to cater to thehigher business volumes expected to be moved. The supply of these vehicles would commencesoon and is expected to conclude within an 18 month horizon. The vehicle body buildingteam is already geared up to attend to this work. The order also includesanadditionofsignificantnumber of Trailer vehicles which would be used to move parcels overroutes having higher load volumes to improve our service levels.
Also I have initiated the area expansion of certain key hubs across the country sothat higher freight volumes expected can be serviced directly to a larger number ofbranches from such hubs. This would bring down the transit time of consignments as alsoreduce their handling and facilitate better and faster service to customers. We are alsoexpanding the size of godowns of certain key branches across the country to supportbusiness growth. A conscious focus on certain key corporate clientele has also begun forthe servicing of their pan-India consignment deliveries. My team is extensively travellingacross the country and continuing to hold regional meetings to encourage the localmanagers to generate more business. Concentrated local level consignee focused marketinghas always yielded results and I would continue to drive our employees to engage more andmore with the customers. Area Heads and even branch inspectors are being advised to meetwith customers and potential customers to drive growth. Our management tracks the numberof customers based on their GST registration and I am happy to state that since theopening up of the markets we have added a substantial new B2B customer base in our foldwhich is expected to drive in higher business volumes in the coming days. Given all of theabove I am confident of achieving significant volume growth in the near medium term withsuch network expansion. I have directed that regional level marketing be aggressively donein the new branches to garner freight volumes. We had taken a freight rate hike duringApril 2021 and have not since increased the rates. The constant increase in fuel rates maylead to a small margin reduction but we will remain cautious in our price escalationdecision considering our expansion plans. Your management has adopted wait and watchapproach on the freight rate increase and is monitoring the fuel price situation as alsothe overall cost movement and would decide upon this opportunely. development during theyear was the decision taken on disposing off the wind power undertaking of theAnothersignificant Company. The said project has a balance useful life of around 4-5 yearsand the realization of sale consideration thereof can be applied to meet the capexrequirement for fleet addition. The management team was successful in selling off theeligible accrued carbon credits and the realization of this revenue occurred in the lastquarter of the fiscal. An interim dividend of Rs.8/- per share was also declared by theCompany at the end of the third quarter in line with our practice of earlier years.
The operations of the Bus Operations division were markedly better than that of theearlier pandemic affected year. Though the first quarter opportunity was lost to thepandemic the said division has achieved good revenues for the year and we would adopt await and watch approach and assess the strategy to be adopted in respect of this divisionconsidering the performance over the next few quarters.
With regard to vehicle scrapping we have proactively begun the scrapping of oldervehicles. A total of 141 vehicles were sold / scrapped during the financial year. As ofthe end of March 2022 your than 15 years and we would consider whether to scrap these ortake the vehicles up for fitness assessment to continue their utilization in due course ona case to case basis. To meet the eventuality of vehicle scrappage reducing our fleetcapacity we have already placed orders for new vehicles as stated earlier. We wouldthereby continue to ensure the availability of our owned fleet for our operations at alltimes.
Overall I see a potential for considerable business growth going ahead.
I request you to go through the Annual report and send your queries firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite all the members to join us at Hubballi at yourCompany's Annual General Meeting on the 10th of August 2022 where we would seek yourguidance and suggestions. As always I sincerely thank our shareholders for their trustsupport and confidence in us. A special note of thanks to our employees who braved thepandemic and stood strongly at their branch posts even during these difficult days for theCompany's sake. I acknowledge that their absolute dedication and efforts are the Company'sbiggest strength. I also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the otherstakeholders including Customers Suppliers Bankers Government Authorities Regulatorsand the management team including my peer Directors on the Company's Board for their hardwork and commitment and seek the continued association of one and all for the Company'sadvancement in the days to come.
|DR. VIJAY SANKESHWAR |
|CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR |