Port Wings News Network:
Speaking at the first National Conference on Logistics Policy at FICCI House in New Delhi Mr Samir Shah, immediate past Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) and Partner, JBS Group maintained that the draft Logistics Policy, which was recently unveiled by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, seems homogeneous in nature.
However, it should keep the federal structure in mind. “There are differences in the country with diversity. We will have to accept it. Simultaneously, there should be separate Logistics Policies from all state governments as well,” he said. He was speaking at the Session on “Facilitating Efficient Logistics Processes, Logistics Skilling and Standardisation for Enhancing Ease of Doing Business.”
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Mr Suresh Prabhu, inaugurated the first stakeholder consultation on the draft Logistics Policy prepared by the Department of Logistics of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. Jointly hosted by FICCI and Ministry of Commerce & Industry in association with FFFAI and other trade associations the National Conference on Logistics Policy was held on 19 – 20 February, 2019 at the FICCI House in New Delhi.
Commenting on logistics cost in India, Mr Shah was of the opinion that there are procedural errors about the calculation of logistics cost, which has been taken as 13-14 percent of GDP. It does not have scientific basis as far as calculation is concerned, and it should be commodity wise.
Mr Shah also emphatically said that the Logistics Policy will have to be guided by Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is a very well-structured and wonderful document as regard to action plan on enhancing exim trade through effective EDI and Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) systems, etc.
On skilling the logistics sector Mr Shah observed that this sector is predominantly human resources- based industry. However, paradoxically, biggest challenge is to get people to come and join this industry. “Ensure good mobility and make this industry an attractive career option. People should be the prime pillars of logistics industry. Training should be mandatory and monitoring the training institution should be of prior importance. Pay for the trainees rather than training institutes. There should be multiple Centres for Excellence across the country. Women should be encouraged more to join this industry,” he suggested. In his opinion, objectives and functions of Logistics Sector Council should also be incorporated in the Logistics Policy. Mr Shah also urged for massive media campaign by the government to promote logistics industry, for creating good image of this sunrise sector.
Earlier, offering his views on the Logistics Policy, Mr S Ramakrishna, Chairman, FFFAI, observed that the logistics Industry in India is presently facing challenges predominantly in three areas in the multimodal transport arena: 1. Railways owing to scarcity and uneven movements of rolling stocks, 2. Roadways owing to toll gates and 3. Multimodal Logistics Parks due to underutilization of available capacity resulting in exorbitant transaction time and cost. These issues should be appropriately addressed to make India’s exports competitive in the international markets. According to Mr Ramakrishna, better utilization of rake capacity, code sharing system among container train operators, faster evacuation of containers, optimal use of ICDs/CFSs capacity instead of adding more capacity like Multimodal Logistics Parks, elimination of toll gate hassles, etc can improve logistics operation drastically. FFFAI has also recommended that in the Air Cargo Policy there should be at least one AFS (Air Freight Station) in each state where the existing warehousing facility/ICD/CFS can be utilized with upgraded technology of scanners, QR coding, custom clearance facilities, etc.