NISAA urges for hin­ter­land con­nec­tiv­ity to boost port ser­vices

The ‘NISAA Fo­rum’ (North In­dia Steamer Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia Fo­rum) 2014, which was re­cently held in New Delhi raised sev­eral crit­i­cal is­sues that cre­ate bot­tle­necks in trans­port­ing ex­port-im­port cargo to and from In­dian ports from/to north In­dia, i

Cargo Talk - - Contents -

In his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress Capt AK Kaura, Pres­i­dent, NISAA said that con­vert­ing cargo from rail to road is a big chal­lenge in this re­gion be­cause of mul­ti­ple fac­tors viz. poor hin­ter­land con­nec­tiv­ity, var­i­ous agencies in­volved at ICDs re­sult­ing in de­lay in clear­ance of cargo and in­crease in trans­ac­tion cost. He sug­gested that apart from strength­en­ing the hin­ter­land and last mile con­nec­tiv­ity, there should be reg­u­lar per­for­mance au­dit of ICDs, avail­abil­ity of monthly data of vol­umes han­dled by ICDs, e-com­mu­ni­ca­tion, uni­form sys­tem and pol­icy and in­tro­duc­tion of dou­ble stack-con­tain­ers and proper util­i­sa­tion of empty space to re­duce cost. The Fo­rum was also ad­dressed by Raghu Dayal, for­mer and Founder MD of Concor and sev­eral other in­dus­try ex­perts and prac­ti­tion­ers.

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Dayal high­lighted the key is­sues which are cre­at­ing bot­tle­necks in trans­porta­tion of goods from north In­dia to the ports. He also un­der­lined the poor road trans­port sec­tor which car­ries the ma­jor­ity of cargo. He pointed out that the large vol­umes of freight is trans­ported on In­dian roads by an un­or­gan­ised truck­ing in­dus­try. 75 per cent of truck­ing firms own small fleets of less than five trucks; only 11 per cent op­er­ate 20 trucks or more. Two-axle light trucks dom­i­nate the nar­row and badly main­tained roads. Reg­u­la­tions pro­hibit­ing over­load­ing of ve­hi­cles are poorly en­forced. Small ve­hi­cle sizes and ram­pant over­load­ing lead to truck­ing costs amongst low­est for bulk and heavy goods. On the other hand, cost for lighter prod­ucts – elec­tron­ics, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, etc. is sub­stan­tially higher. There is low pen­e­tra­tion of trac­tor-trailer units, flat-bed trucks suit­able for container, car­riage, and spe­cialised ve­hi­cles for re­frig­er­ated trans­port.

He also crit­i­cised the ex­ist­ing li­cens­ing regime and mul­ti­ple check post sys­tem where trucks are stopped at mul­ti­ple check­points for in­spec­tions, pay­ments of tolls and taxes. “Ve­hi­cles mov­ing on in­ter-state routes re­main sta­tion­ary about 40 per cent of the time in the process of be­ing in­spected. World Bank es­ti­mated truck de­lays at check­points cost the In­dian econ­omy about ` 2,300 crore per an­num. These de­lays re­sult in In­dian trucks be­ing used, on aver­age, for about 60,000 to 100,000 kms per year, less than a quar­ter of that in the de­vel­oped coun­tries,” he pointed out.

Dayal firmly be­lieves that for a re­bal­anc­ing of multi-mo­dal trans­port sys­tem, road sec­tor should be more ef­fi­cient and less dom­i­nant. The fo­cus should be on its ad­van­tages viz., its ex­ten­sive reach, last mile su­pe­ri­or­ity and flex­i­bil­ity to deliver smaller vol­umes. Ac­cord­ingly, a strong com­bi­na­tion of road and rail hold the keys be­hind the suc­cess of hin­ter­land con­nec­tiv­ity for ocean freight to and from North as well other parts of In­dia.

Dig­na­to­ries at the dais ad­dress­ing the NISAA Fo­rum in New Delhi

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