Commerce, urban affairs ministries to work on logistics planning in cities

The commerce ministry will work with its housing and urban affairs counterpart to focus on 50 cities for logistics planning, a move aimed at promoting ease of doing business in the country, an official statement said on Wednesday.

The decision was taken during the National Conference with States on Logistics on Tuesday to initiate a consultative and collaborative framework for the central and state governments to work in a coordinated manner in the logistic sector.

The commerce ministry said that an 18 point agenda was presented to the states to improve the logistics.

The key areas for logistics improvements in the states were identified as city logistics, simplification of approvals for warehouses, facilitation for warehousing development, reducing the burden on truck movement and addressing the shortage of truck drivers.

“It was decided that the Ministry of Commerce will work with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to focus on 50 cities for logistics planning initially. A plan for facilitation to reduce enforcement burden on truck drivers will be developed,” the statement said.

State-level coordination committees on logistics will be formed, it added.

“The Logistics Division of the Ministry of Commerce will embark on a survey to assess and rank states on logistics performance. The states” ranking will focus on data in addition to perspective on logistics performance,” the statement said.

Speaking at IAMAI”s India Digital Summit, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, Special Secretary (Logistics) said that technology plays a key role in the sector”s growth.

He said that the logistics division has created a platform for the electronic exchange of documents and messages and “we are in the process of using it on a pilot basis before we roll out on an all India basis”.

A lot of documents and messages are exchanged in the logistics space and many of these documents are very valuable and currently, many of them continue to be exchanged in paper formats, he added.

“Because of the value attached with these documents, electronic documents” security becomes an issue and therefore developing a platform for secured document exchange is something that was needed,” Agarwal said.

The track and trace system of trucks is another area where the division is working, he noted.

“We still do not have a complete visibility of empty trucks available in our system and that is one area where we are working with GSTN to bring that visibility so that there can be more efficiencies in the trucking space,” he added.