Now is the Time!

Cargo Talk - - Cargo News -

It is a rare mo­ment when the en­tire cargo and lo­gis­tics sec­tor is on ten­ter­hooks wait­ing for one event - the Bud­get!

To be re­al­is­tic, is there any one in­dus­try, or com­pany, or a per­son who is not wait­ing for the Bud­get 2014-15 with bated breath? All through last year, the coun­try has been in­un­dated with prom­ises, claims and counter-claims. There is a strong govern­ment now. A sta­ble one with com­plete ma­jor­ity, which has the ca­pac­ity to take de­ci­sions, both em­pow­er­ing and reg­u­la­tory. Now is the time when the lit­mus test is brought forth. Will the cargo sec­tor get its share in the sun? Or will it be rel­e­gated to bear even more bur­den to gen­er­ate rev­enues for the coun­try, heed­less of its un­ful­filled needs?

There are so many is­sues pend­ing with the sec­tor. In­dia has 7,500 km of sea coast, with a 12 nau­ti­cal-mile ter­ri­to­rial sea and an ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone of 200 nau­ti­cal miles. For a coun­try with an en­cy­clopaedic mar­itime and naval his­tory, the ship­ping and ports of Mod­ern In­dia are like the slops of a rusty bucket. Too few ports, and too few of them com­pa­ra­ble to the state-of-the-art ones lit­tered across the world. Ar­chaic laws and neg­li­gence has re­sulted in most of the ship­ping trade go­ing to neigh­bour­ing over­seas op­er­a­tors.

Then we come to sur­face trans­port. Rail-freight has grown ex­po­nen­tially over the years. So have the charges. But rail-kilo­me­tres have not matched the same growth curve. In fact, In­dia is not even the coun­try with the max­i­mum rail kilo­me­tres any more. Rail tech­nol­ogy is not a sub­ject that is raised, and of freight, none. How is that go­ing to help in­crease busi­ness po­ten­tial?

For roads, lesser said the bet­ter. Ev­ery­one knows, com­plains and moves on. That said, for­mer PM Va­j­payee’s Sa­gar Mala Project has been brought out into the open again. The road/rail trans­porta­tional quadri­lat­eral will boost the sec­tor like an adren­a­line shot, and there are sin­cere hopes that the project will see the light of day (now that the PM has set the ball rolling!)

Will there be good days ahead? We just have to hold our breath and wait.

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