Multi-modal lo­gis­tics hub pol­icy gets a grand wel­come

The re­cent an­nounce­ment by Nitin Gad­kari, Union Min­is­ter of Road Trans­port & High­ways and Ship­ping, of in­volv­ing avi­a­tion sec­tor in a multi-modal lo­gis­tics hubs pol­icy has cre­ated as­pi­ra­tions in the air cargo sec­tor. Let’s have a look on how the in­dus­try

Cargo Talk - - Front Page -

Dr. Gu­ruprasad Mo­ha­p­a­tra IAS, Chair­man, Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia

The coun­try has firmed up the con­tours of its am­bi­tious multi-modal pro­gramme to re­duce lo­gis­tics costs and make the econ­omy com­pet­i­tive. The strat­egy in­volves a re­set of In­dia’s lo­gis­tics sec­tor from a ‘point-to-point’ model to a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model, which in­volves rail­ways, high­ways, in­land water­ways and air­ports, to put in place an ef­fec­tive trans­porta­tion grid. Mul­ti­ple initiatives to im­prove lo­gis­tics ef­fi­ciency are al­ready un­der­way in­clud­ing build­ing of eco­nomic cor­ri­dors apart from multi-modal lo­gis­tics parks.

As a part of strat­egy for ‘in­te­grated ap­proach for lo­gis­tics’ air­ports will be part of multi-modal lo­gis­tics hubs. Gov­ern­ment of In­dia aims at set­ting up 400 re­gional air­ports with fa­cil­i­ties for pre-cool­ing cold stor­ages among other lo­gis­tics solutions. The es­tab­lish­ment of multi-modal lo­gis­tics hub in the vicin­ity of an air­port con­nected with rail, road and port will form part of the value-added ser­vices chain in view of the strate­gic lo­ca­tion and seam­less in­te­gra­tion.

The es­tab­lish­ment of multi-modal lo­gis­tics hub near air­port where air cargo po­ten­tial ex­ists will cer­tainly ease all pro­cesses pro­vid­ing just-in-time cargo fa­cil­i­ties with re­duced cost thereby boost­ing the growth of air-cargo sec­tor. The in­te­grated lo­gis­tics will in­crease In­dia’s ex­ports, pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, will be cost ef­fec­tive, and will make goods cheaper in the coun­try.

Vi­pan Jain Chair­man, BAR In­dia Cargo, NR

This is a fair move in right di­rec­tion un­der road trans­port & high­ways and ship­ping; avi­a­tion sec­tor will now be a part of multi-modal lo­gis­tics hubs. At the same time, would not like to see it as op­por­tu­nity lost as all busi­ness seg­ment finds its own way to grow per­haps at slightly more cost and time. Now the chal­lenge will be to cre­ate a smooth chain to make multi-modal suc­cess­ful, as even cur­rently we find some de­lays in air-to-air sec­tor it­self. The com­mon IT plat­form and sin­gle win­dow is the only solution oth­er­wise this may lead to a big­ger is­sue. What is im­por­tant to un­der­stand is that the big­gest chal­lenge in ev­ery in­dus­try is to cre­ate a bridge be­tween pol­icy in­tro­duc­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion on ground.

Samir J Shah Chair­man, FFFAI

Ap­pre­ci­a­tions to com­bined ef­forts from the ICEGATE based EDI sys­tem, sin­gle win­dow clear­ance and en­su­ing tax ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion through GST. Un­der the new tax regime, the coun­try will be con­nected seam­lessly and with the re­quired speed. First and di­rect im­pact of GST would be on man­u­fac­tur­ing, do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and ex­port/ im­port in­dus­try in the coun­try. Mean­while, gov­ern­ment is work­ing to­wards for­mu­lat­ing an in­te­grated, multi modal lo­gis­tics & trans­port pol­icy to re­duce lo­gis­tics costs in the coun­try for making In­dian prod­ucts more com­pet­i­tive. As an­nounced, the plan also in­cludes devel­op­ing many mul­ti­modal lo­gis­tics parks across the coun­try to serve as cen­tres for freight ag­gre­ga­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion, mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion, stor­age and ware­hous­ing and value added ser­vices. So far, high­ways, ports, in­land water­ways and rail­ways were part of the multi-modal lo­gis­tics hubs initiatives in In­dia. Those hubs would now be lo­gis­ti­cally com­plete by es­tab­lish­ing the vi­tal link with avi­a­tion sec­tor. The Mul­ti­modal Trans­port Act, which was passed by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia in 1993, and amended in 2000, fa­cil­i­tated mul­ti­modal trans­port op­er­a­tions em­pow­er­ing mul­ti­modal trans­port op­er­a­tors, and at the same time im­pos­ing li­a­bil­ity, to en­sure end to end trans­porta­tion with­out has­sles and trans­gres­sion. The Act helped the ship­pers in In­dia in a big way as now they could ship goods from any in­land point in In­dia (ex­cept J&K) to any des­ti­na­tion in the world un­der a sin­gle Con­tract of Car­riage. Ac­cord­ingly, mul­ti­modal trans­port in In­dia has suc­cess­fully con­verged con­tainer­ised road/rail freight, ICDS, CFSs and ports. Ow­ing to in­fra­struc­ture and lo­gis­tic is­sues, air cargo has not been looked at as a vi­able op­tion for the mul­ti­modal op­er­a­tors.

Bharat J Thakkar Past Pres­i­dent and Per­ma­nent Mem­ber - Board of Ad­viser, ACAAI and Founder & Joint Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Zeus Air Ser­vices

With Na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Pol­icy (NCAP) and new an­nounce­ments of Union Min­is­ter of Road Trans­port & High­ways and Ship­ping, we are on the fast mode to achieve what we have missed in past. It’s never too late but the ac­cel­er­a­tion that has started with the new regime should take ev­ery pend­ing is­sue within proper time­frame and strict mon­i­tor­ing of per­for­mance of con­trac­tors or be it Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship. More­over, the out­stand­ing among them must be re­warded for their per­for­mance on such initiatives; this will trans­form In­dia into a mod­ern air cargo hub. While trad­ing be­tween the na­tions, the mer­chan­dise despatched from fac­to­ries to the Sales de­pot, need not travel di­rectly be­tween the trad­ing na­tions. This flex­i­bil­ity in the phys­i­cal trans­porta­tion has wit­nessed the emer­gence of mo­tor­ways, rail­ways, sea ports and air­ports has emerged as hubs.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to note that no ma­jor in­ter­na­tional air cargo hub is lo­cated in South/ Cen­tral & North Amer­ica, Aus­tralia Africa and Canada. A study of the ex­ist­ing air cargo hubs would iden­tify cer­tain fol­low­ing com­mon threads that have helped these air­ports as ma­jor hubs. This has en­abled prox­im­ity to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets It ex­u­ber­ates ab­sence of red tapes or ex­ces­sive reg­u­la­tory paper work.

More­over, medium ca­pac­ity of all cargo fleet with an up­lift ton­nage be­tween 15 to 25 tonnes needs to be po­si­tioned at the iden­ti­fied hub. There can be only one hub lo­cated in In­dia which will open up cur­rently sub­ser­viced mar­kets to the car­ri­ers that can par­tic­i­pate.

In­dia of­fers a sta­ble po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment, skilled workforce but ex­ist­ing air­port in­fra­struc­ture and user charges will act as a ma­jor dis incentive to at­tract cus­tomers to use the hub. One other ini­tia­tive that may be con­sid­ered is per­mit­ting of agents bonded han­dling premises in­side the hub air­port as this will en­hance the mar­ket­ing ef­forts to de­velop the hub. Cargo Vil­lage within to be de­clared as an SEZ, would dras­ti­cally re­duce the reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance and also bring in the req­ui­site in­vest­ment in mod­ern equip­ment to process the tran­ship­ment car­goes.

Shantanu Bhad­kamkar Past Pres­i­dent, FFFAI

In any lo­gis­tics solution, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive last mile con­nec­tiv­ity is a ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion. To make move­ment of goods seam­less and ef­fi­cient mul­ti­modal trans­port and mul­ti­modal hubs are crit­i­cal. Any sin­gle mode of trans­port can­not per­form ef­fec­tively un­less it is a part of a mul­ti­modal trans­port sys­tem. The ad­van­tages of mul­ti­modal trans­port are many, and in­clude door-to-door trans­porta­tion of goods be­ing co­or­di­nated and planned as a sin­gle op­er­a­tion. It min­imises the loss of time and risk of loss, pil­fer­age and dam­age to the cargo at trans-ship­ment points. Another ad­van­tage be­ing the abil­ity to trans­port goods door to door un­der a sin­gle doc­u­ment. The avi­a­tion sec­tor there­fore needs to ei­ther cre­ate a mul­ti­modal hub or in­te­grate it­self with other mul­ti­modal lo­gis­tics hubs for it to re­alise its full po­ten­tial. With growth in B2C. e-com­merce, the sec­tor will wit­ness a great surge in vol­umes, the de­mands on re­li­a­bil­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness will also be very high. Not just e-com­merce com­pa­nies and in­te­gra­tors but also air­ports and town author­i­ties are keen to de­velop air cargo multi-modal hubs for the eco­nomic ben­e­fits it brings by growth in the econ­omy.

KALPANA LOHUMI

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