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Government set to launch National Multi-Modal Transportation plan soon

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The union government is expected to soon roll out a national Multi-Modal Transportation plan that will aim to bring in ease of business in the logistics sector, a key enabler in making Indian industry competitive.

High logistic costs have often been cited as one of the key roadblocks to a competitive industry. As India positions itself for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, a conducive logistic echo system is an imperative to bring in new investments.

Speaking at a summit on multimodal transportation Gen V K Singh, Minister of State of Roads and Highways said that there is need to have total connectivity between various modes in less cost and in a given time. He stressed on the importance of connecting the manufacturing hub and the exporting hub, along with making transportation in between them cheaper to increase the competitiveness of the Industry. In addition, there is a need to give impetus to technology. There is a huge opportunity for India to do process re-engineering or streamlining of processes, and logistics is one area where a lot of processes can be digitised which can enhance efficiency.

“There is a need to adopt the most appropriate modes of transport depending upon the respective logistic need,” Mr Pawan Kumar Agarwal, Special Secretary Logistics, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, said at a recently convened webinar on multi-modal logistics by the Confederation of Indian Industry. “All modes of transport have their own sets of issues, and we need to understand the entire landscape first as a whole, as there are multiple issues surrounding the Multimodal sector” he said.

The National MMT plan will focus on the MMT infrastructure. There is a need for unified documentation and a move from largely paper based documentation to electronic documentation across all modes of transport. Most importantly there is a need for standardization in terms of common use of standard terms and language, which will facilitate MMT transportation uniformly across all the modes.

He emphasized that there are 7 key objectives and initiatives which the government is currently focusing on with an aim to streamline the processes in Logistics. The first being integration of the MMT Infrastructure. Second objective would be to ensure the optimal usage of the interconnected multimodal logistics infrastructure. The other focus areas will be the standardization in terms of the processes, physical assets, terminology, documentation used in different terminals and ports. Another major initiative will be Digitalization in the MMT sector.

The government is already looking at creating an Unique Identity Number for all the logistic service providers similar to the existing PAN document for the purpose of better monitoring and real time data analysis that will enhance better information systems and also address the grievance redressal system. The other two objectives that he highlighted were the formalization with accreditation and democratization in the logistics sector which would enable to move towards a robust Multimodal logistics and supply chain and a truly world class logistics system.

According to Mr N Sivasailam Former Special Secretary – Logistics, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the law for multi-modality and logistics is important. There needs to be more stress to reduce the cost at the borders, the exports and the multimodality at the Economic corridors. This will facilitate the Special Economic Zones.

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