New Delhi: Introducing warehousing standards as well as digital services like Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) and electronic logbooks (E-LogS) are some of the key takeaways of the newly-launched National Logistics Policy (NLP).
The NLP, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday, is aimed at reducing the logistics cost from the current 13 per cent to a single-digit number, which would save time and money for Indian manufacturers. It offers a regulatory framework for logistics efficiency, digital portals to streamline transportation and aims to facilitate the development of key infrastructures like air freight stations, inland container depots, and container freight stations.
The policy seeks to complement the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan.
While Gati Shakti focuses on the development of integrated infrastructure, the NLP is concerned with creating digital services and a regulatory framework that will help streamline the logistics ecosystem in India.
The NLP also offers an e-handbook for standardisation of warehousing in the country. It will collate existing standards and global best practices to reduce costs, improve efficiency and ensure global competitiveness of Indian goods.
“National Logistics Policy complements PM Gati Shakti and together, they would revolutionise logistics efficiency in the country. Standardisation of various aspects such as warehousing will lead to optimisation and efficiency gains,” Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary Anurag Jain told ThePrint.
ThePrint looks at the features and benefits of the NLP.
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What digital services does NLP offer?
The two main digital services offered by the NLP are the ULIP and the E-LogS.
The ULIP is a single online portal to be utilised by government and private agencies, service providers, shippers, consignees and others to enable information exchange on a real-time basis. It seeks to address the challenges of delayed processes and manual activities.
According to the commerce ministry, the ULIP is already functional.
The E-LogS, developed by the DPIIT, is a digital dashboard for registering and monitoring the resolution of user issues pertaining to services, documentation, processes, policy etc. A group of officers nominated from various ministries to form the ‘Services Improvement Group’, will be tasked with overseeing this mechanism.
Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said unlike digital services offered under the NLP, other aspects of the policy, such as its regulatory framework and facilitation of key infrastructure may take longer to implement.
“While the NLP is utilising tech for setting up services like the ULIP, it also seeks to develop multi-modal logistics parks, correct skewed transportation routes, etc. Digital services like ULIP are currently functional, but facilitation of key infrastructure may take three to five years,” Sahai told ThePrint.
Reaction of exporters
Exporters in high-value sectors like gems and jewellery have welcomed the NLP, but shared concerns about the implementation of digital services like the ULIP.
Sabyasachi Ray, executive director at the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC), said that while logistics for the gems and jewellery sector are “well-defined”, it still requires insurance, security personnel and overall, the secure movement of goods.
“The E-LogS dashboard and ULIP are steps in the right direction. However, it will depend on how fast these are implemented by the government agencies and without teething glitches in the initial implementation,” he said.
The Indian textile industry, which by nature is “fragmented” due to widely dispersed production networks, also stands to benefit from the NLP, explained Siddhartha Rajagopal, executive director of Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil).
“Logistics in the textile value chain are necessary for order processing, production, warehousing, transportation and distribution. Difficulty in meeting stringent global delivery schedules due to lack of efficient logistics ecosystem puts the textile industry at severe disadvantage,” Rajagopal told ThePrint.
He added that dedicated freight corridors by rail and road, connectedness of ports and inland waterways, and emergency deliveries of high-value, perishable items by air, are the need of the hour.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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