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Govt will work with logistics sector to drive trade numbers, address issues

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NEW DELHI : The commerce ministry will work with the express delivery sector (EDS) to improve trade numbers and address the concerns of the industry, Mr.R S Subramanian, Vice Chairman, Express Industry Council of India (EICI) and Sr VP, DHL Express South Asia, said.

On April 4, the EICI had come out with a report outlining a series of recommendations that can help improve the sector. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, during his address at the launch of the report, had said to the council, “Let us work together towards a time-bound arrangement where a team from the government and from different segments of the industry, put together in 30 days, converts the document into a roadmap.”

As per Subramanian, Joint Secretary (DPIIT) Surendra Ahirwar, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, also discussed the issue with the council.

The industry will now work along with the government and nominate seven-eight spokespersons from different sections of the express delivery industry. The team will develop an action plan in the next three to six months.

In standard shipping, the regular delivery time ranges from two to eight days, while in express shipping the delivery is generally done in one day.

The express delivery industry has been pegged to play a pivotal role in facilitating India’s growth and helping it become a $17 trillion economy by 2047, said Subramanian.

“The sector has significant backward and forward linkages, from creating jobs to from connecting Indian SMEs to global value chains to giving Indian consumers a wide range of products at their doorsteps,” he added.

The team constituted to support the sector will work on accelerating growth in the logistics sector, resolving issues related to infrastructure, and expanding digitisation.

“With help of initiatives like PM Gati Shakti and the National Logistics Policy, the entire business cycle is accelerated. Now, the load on the delivery cycle has reduced by 60 percent. Previously, it used to take 10-14 days to sell goods and receive payment, but now it happens in four days,” said Subramanian.

The report has cited municipality / city-level issues such as different timings for the entry of express delivery vehicles in different states, the lack of parking spaces for such vehicles, and suggested flexibility in entry and exit timings for cargo vehicles, along with dedicated parking spaces.

The report also talks about the shortage of skilled manpower in the EDS segment, and suggests that the  private and government sector collaborate and launch skilling programs for EDS.

Lack of integration between systems belonging to different agencies such as the GST Network (GSTN), the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Special Economic Zone (SEZ) online, customs, RBI, etc.,  and the limited use of technology by MSME users, have also been cited as barriers to the development of the sector.

The report has suggested solutions to improve the  efficiency, interdepartmental coordination, risk management, and data sharing between government and private stakeholders through automation and the use of technology.

The report also suggested that EDS firms and their e-commerce partners should participate in key government initiatives to on-board MSMEs and enhance their global reach through the use of technology.

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