India is the highest gold-consuming market in the world. It is a category with 100% awareness,
100% penetration, rooted in our heritage and tradition, and a big part of our lives, a beautiful
saving which becomes our saviour in times of need. But what goes behind ensuring that the gold
reaches you securely?
India is not a major 'producer' of gold, as it does not have any major functional gold mines.
Hence all the gold consumed is imported into our country. Thus the supply chain & logistics of
gold, from bullion bars and rough stones that are imported into our country, to the manufacturing
and distribution of finished gold & diamond jewellery, is both a fascinating, interesting and
important subject. As a common man, we do not realize or even think about the complexity and
criticality of such precious cargo logistics.
Historically, this movement was done by the jewellers themselves, or with "Angadias", who discretely carry such precious shipments, using either personal transportation or public transportation like trains and local buses. These movements are carried out primarily on a trust basis, and most often without adequate security/documentation/ insurance coverage. There are innumerable instances of external attacks & robbery, to internal pilferage & fraud. The entire supply chain used to be completely opaque, closed and informal, with almost no scope for recourse if things were to go wrong.
Organized Retail and Organized Logistics
Things, however, started changing slowly after liberalization in the 90s. Tata's Tanishq brought
about the first change to organize, formalize and standardize jewellery buying with their
transparent approach and promise of purity, premium retail experience and a pan-India network.
Along with this came the need for organized & professional logistics partners to manage their
large and complex supply chain network. Thus organized precious cargo logistics, as a segment,
took shape in the early 2000s.
Over the years, with the increase of organized retail in the jewellery sector with brands including
Tanishq, GRT, Malabar, Joy Alukkas, P C Jewellers, TBZ, Reliance Jewels, Senco and many
other local players expanding like P C Chandra, Waman Hari Pethe, Ranka Jewellers, P N
Gadgil etc., to name a few, the organized retailers have realized the importance of organized
precious cargo logistics.
Sequel Secured Vehicle
The jewellery industry thrives on the sale during festivals and weddings. Jewellery retailers
select their products during the B to B jewellery exhibitions/trade shows and place their orders
with the manufacturers. The largest exhibition for the jewellery industry was held from 4th to 8th
August in Mumbai, called India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), organized by GJEPC
(Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council). More than a thousand exhibitors displayed their
merchandise, and they were visited by more than fifty thousand visitors, who came to select and
place their orders for the upcoming festive season. For these large exhibitions & trade shows as
well, the jewellers/manufacturers take the services of the precious cargo logistics service providers to move their precious gold, diamonds, gemstones and silver products from their
factory/shop to the exhibition venue and back.
Government Regulations and Compliances
With the government's impetus on ensuring compliance, with measures like GST, e-invoice and
e-way bill, a tectonic shift is being witnessed towards ensuring compliance. This has further
hastened the role and use of organized precious cargo logistics service providers.
India being the largest consumer and importer of gold & silver in the world, the government and
this industry felt that it was imperative to have our own India International Bullion Exchange
(IIBX), in line with what some of the larger & mature economies have in place. This important
step will immensely help our Indian market to shift from being just a price taker to becoming a
market maker. Our government has set up the India International Bullion Exchange at GIFT City
in Gandhinagar, which was recently inaugurated by the Hon PM Shri Narendra Modi on the 29th
of July 2022. IIBX is set to become the gateway for bullion imports into India.
Sequel's Bullion Vaulting Facility at GIFT City
Here again, IFSCA as a regulatory authority has laid out clear guidelines on who & how the
vaulting and logistics activities shall be performed. Currently, Sequel is the only operational
IFSCA audited and approved vaulting and logistics company. The requirement to become an
approved vault manager includes the minimum net-worth requirement, prior experience and
knowledge in managing large, multiple vault operations, and an impeccable track record as a
Further, SEBI is also commencing the gold spot exchange to create a transparent, compliant and
convenient platform for buying & selling gold, similar to equity shares. Sequel has been audited,
approved, and appointed as the vault manager, by SEBI, based on the financial strength,
operational competence and historical track record of the company and its promoters.
Precious Cargo Logistics – What is unique and different?
Unlike regular parcels, documents or even e-commerce and food/grocery deliveries, precious
cargo logistics operate at an entirely different plane and level. The level of performance has to be
top-notch in all aspects, which are:
Lowest TAT (considering daily gold price fluctuation)
Highest security at vault and in-transit (zero loss/pilferage)
High-end & secure technology to monitor, track & trace everything in real-time
Vast domestic & global network
Strong company financials with an impeccable track record
Apart from the above, the most important element that is unique & different is the culture &
mindset of the team that runs & manages the show. People, processes & technology will need to
work in sync to be able not just to deliver the shipment safely but also to keep the customer informed at each step of the way, with zero margins for error. For example, the customer wants
to know, every single time, the details of the authorized person who would come for the
shipment pickup. Similarly, the shipment must be handed over to the verified receiver only,
every single time, and not to anyone available at the given delivery address. Internal and external
Auditing and Certification go a long way in ensuring that the processes are robust and foolproof.
ISO 39001:2012 certification for Road Transport Safety Management System (RTSMS) for
High-Value Transportation and Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certification are some of
the international certifications that are important and essential.