Logistics firms create a niche, delivering goodies to students abroad

Education abroad is no doubt a lot of food for thought but how about some thought for food? Long evenings and longer weekends tend to bring on the craving for farsan, ladoos and other mother-made goodies. Many items are no doubt available in the ‘Indian Section’ of most supermarts, but nothing like from home.

Ready to bring you the goodies are some logistics companies that will deliver “customised and home-made” food parcels.

Companies such as DTDC are planning to focus on the growing overseas student segment with this specialised offering. Apart from food items, they are also ready to transport the baggage that students want to carry but do not because of the prohibitive airline charges.

Abhishek Chakraborty, Director, DTDC, told Business Line that “even though Indian students travel outside India, their families and parents always like to send something to them. It could be food items or clothes. We recognise that as an important segment. We are looking to target that specific segment with more and more offerings”.

Top logistics firms, with a presence in top Indian destinations such as the UK, the US, Australia , Canada , Singapore and China, have a dedicated service to transport material and baggage. On DTDC, an assorted package for the US, which can include permissible food items, could cost Rs 3,500-4,000.

This line of service holds huge potential for logistics firms. “During the past three-four years, there has been about 7 per cent growth in the number of students going abroad, and it is currently at 1.9 lakh per year. This gives an idea of the potential market size,” according to Chakraborty.

DTDC has set aside Rs 30-50 lakh per annum for marketing this service.

Industry biggie DHL Express enrols students even before they head overseas, that is, when they dispatch their admission documents. The company sells as many services as possible during the students’ stay abroad.

“The service is part of DHL’s retail business and also focuses on executives relocating from India. The company’s services, however, do not include food products,” said Chandrashekhar Pitre, Senior Director–Marketing, DHL Express.

nivedita.ganguly@thehindu.co.in

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 5, 2013)
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