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Master Of Space Logistics
Anshul Singhal’s experience of more than 15 years in the real estate and infrastructure sector has made WOLP a front runner in industrial and warehousing real estate
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WELSPUN ONE LOGISTICS PARK (WOLP) which was formerly known as One Industrial Spaces in 2019, was founded by Anshul Singhal, an executive with more than 15 years of experience in the infrastructure and real estate sector. His company delivers industrial and warehousing real estate. They engage in identifying markets, land acquisition, planning permissions, designing and executing projects, managing lease, market positioning and operations and maintenance. Singhal is now looking at modern industrial and logistical warehousing solutions by integrating fund and development management.
Speaking to BW Businessworld, he highlights how industrial warehousing is an ever-expanding sector and how it was particularly boosted by the pandemic.
“The pandemic forced a lot of customers online and e-commerce was already growing. The buying behaviour of consumers, which would have otherwise taken five years to change, has happened in the last 6-7 months. It has increased the speed at which people have gone online (for their purchasing needs) and that behaviour is also habit forming given the extended time. This has given us tailwinds. With so many people going online and buying, the need for that many warehouses at backend increases to service that demand,” he explains.
This goes to show that with the increasing demand for e-retail, supply chains have gained prominence as essential services and proven their unmistakable value to companies and governments.
However, operations was not the only area that saw a change. The pandemic forced all fundraising activities to go virtual. WOLP, which is in the process of fund-raising, benefitted from the virtual pitches and investor meets in the process of what Singhal termed as the ‘financial innovation’ of his company. “We have just launched our Rs 500 crore fund, which is India’s first warehousing fund.”
He explained that it was India’s first Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) product of its kind for domestic investors who would previously have to undergo the hassle of buying land/property, dealing with local concerns, construction and customers to see any warehousing returns. “(With Welspun One Logistics Parks Fund I) Domestic investors wouldn’t need to buy physical space anymore. They can buy units of the fund and receive identical returns. We manage the money and deploy it ourselves by buying, building and leasing space. We don’t back any real estate developers.”
Singhal also spoke of how the pandemic has inspired design changes in the construction of warehouses. As the pandemic set in during the construction of their project in Bhiwandi, the company decided to build the warehouse- future and pandemic proof by increasing automation and ensuring that the basic facilities of the park would require minimal or almost no human interaction. He also hopes the park will serve as a model for other warehousing parks henceforth.
The company is hoping to increase its funding progressively, retain customers, habour a well-connected team and keep their AUM (asset under management) growing in the future. Singhal also hopes to venture into in-city warehousing which he believes is the future trend. He believes that as the need for same-day delivery increases it will necessitate the requirement of closer warehouses in a bid to save costs and ensure seamless delivery.
He also added that the virtual buying experiences would increase and even traditionally offline stores will hope to build an online experience where customers can virtually try out entire collections before making a purchasing decision.