Pushing road freight
The Transport Corporation of India (TCI) in collaboration with IIM Calcutta launched the third edition of report titled ‘Operational Efficiency of Freight Transportation by Road in India’.
The report is based on the joint survey of road freight transportation along 28 key routes in India. The aim of the study is to explore new ways to increase the operational efficiency of freight transport by road. This study, henceforth referred to as the 2014-15 survey, was commissioned by TCI to assess the operational efficiency of freight transportation by road in India. This is a follow up study of the earlier studies, also commissioned by TCI, in 2008-09 and 2011-12, henceforth referred to as the 2008-09 survey and 2011-12 survey, respectively.
The other objective was to make an assessment of the operational efficiency of freight transportation by road and suggest recommendations. The focus of the 2008-09 survey was on a detailed analysis of the trucking industry and a comparison of roads and railways in terms of freight transportation.
As on March 31, 2013, India’s total road length network was 5.23 million km and road density was 1.59 km/sq km. However, the length of national highways/expressways was a meagre 100,087.08 km, or about two per cent of the total road length network, even as they carried 40 per cent of the road traffic. Roads and railways carried about 65 and 30 per cent, respectively, of the country’s total freight volume.
The rest carried by waterways and airways. In 2011-12, the contribution of the transport sector to India’s GDP was 6.5 per cent, out of which roads and railways accounted for 4.8 and one per cent, respectively.
Road freight volumes are expected to increase from 1315 BTKM in 201213 to 1553 BTKM in 2014-15. However, development of new roads has not been able to keep pace with increasing freight volumes and passenger traffic since Independence, creating infrastructural bottlenecks. The government should simplify and standardise the rules and regulations across different modes
The introduction of a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) is expected to reduce paperwork and check post delays, potentially saving billions of US dollars
of transportation to facilitate multimodal transportation. Therefore, the needs of the hour are to build new roads faster, widen existing roads and improve road conditions through periodic maintenance.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways set a target of building 17.26 km of new roads per day in 201415, up from 11.67 km per day in 201314. Also, 100 per cent of the toll plazas are targeted to be equipped with ETC in 2014-15.
The introduction of a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) is expected to reduce paperwork and check post delays, potentially saving billions of US dollars in delay costs, additional fuel consumption cost due to slow vehicular speed and idling at check posts.