National logistics policy to be announced soon, says special secretary

The national logistics policy will soon be in place and provide a very robust framework for action to work on improvements in the logistics and supply chain management for the nation, a top official of the ministry of commerce and industry said in an ASSOCHAM webinar on Tuesday.

“In India, we had to devise our own formulations for the national logistics policy and therefore it has taken a little longer than what it should have taken, but I can assure you that we have reached the finality on this and I think you will soon see the final logistics policy in place,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, special secretary (logistics), department of commerce and industry.

The logistics sector appears to be very-very complex. “Unless we get down to details and go down to specific commodities, geographies, modes of transport, concerns, we may just keep wandering without achieving much. This is precisely what we have been doing over the past 5-6 months,” Agarwal said.

“We have had seven rounds of discussion and our attempt has been to zero down to specific areas of intervention rather than making some very general statements and not being able to do anything about it. We wish to create a plan that is implementable,” he said.

“Under the plan we have identified 12 areas that are levers of change that we would focus on – policy coherence, regulatory coherence, use of automation and mechanisation of warehousing, standardization and unitization of cargo, digital transformation, multi-modality, logistics infrastructure, professionalization of human resources, green & clean logistics and others,” he elaborated.

Further stating that these aspects would be covered in the national logistics policy, Agarwal said, “I do hope that the policy is soon announced. We are not waiting for initiating action, in many areas we have already initiated action and are in different stages of implementation.”

The focus is on ensuring that all this happens in a coordinated manner. “This coordination arrangement needs to be institutionalised as to how we bring in a more robust structure of coordination at the national level, state level and between states and the centre,” he explained.

Noting that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are a very important sector for the economy, Agarwal said that streamlining of processes will help MSMEs reduce logistics cost to a great extent.

Sharing his views, ASSOCHAM’s senior vice-president, Mr Vineet Agarwal said that there is a need to look at more incremental changes rather than very large interventions for the sector to improve in terms of policy and regulatory issues. “Besides, standardization and design innovation based on India-centric needs together with streamlining of processes would reduce time and logistics costs.”