Need a nodal body for logistics
As the new Union Government will take charge post general elections of 2014, it is the appropriate time to demand for a nodal ministry or a nodal body for cargo and logistics industry in India, which is so far nobody’s child. Paradoxically, for this sunrise sector no clear direction has been laid down by the policy makers comprising of multiple ministries, agencies and authorities. Hence, issues are mounting to create huge obstacles for the cargo and logistics industry, leaving the country out of the race, as compared to other developed and developing countries as regard to the transit time and transaction cost. It may be recalled that India has exorbitant logistics cost of about 13-14 per cent of the national GDP. In the past few years, Cargotalk has raised the issue of having a nodal ministry/ body for the cargo and logistics industry. Several trade bodies and industry majors have expressed strong feelings favouring the issue. However, there was a serious lacuna between the intent and action. There were no persistent initiatives, especially from the trade associations and the industry chambers of commerce to make a dent on the thought process of the protagonists at the corridors of power. The debate about the nature of the nodal body can continue, at the same time, by going for some long-term action plans. To deceive the gravity of the issue, the concerned authorities may refer to the bodies like Air Cargo Logistics Promotion Board to achieve the desired goal of the industry — i.e a strong cargo and logistics infrastructure armed with industry status. However, until and unless these platforms are not headed by a viable institution such as the PMO or Cabinet Secretary, the logjam would remain the same, owing to sectoral interests of various ministries and departments. Remarkably, there are some indications that a few associations are coming closer to bring up the fight for industry status and a nodal authority. The sooner all major associations and chambers and commerce stand under one umbrella for the greater interest of the cargo and logistics industry (and hence, for the development of the country’s economy), the better the results will be for the industry. It’s a huge opportunity to ask the new government and the Members of Parliament as well, which direction they want to lead the country towards - a manufacturing-oriented growth supported by a world-standard logistics industry or through a mere service sector?