All is well that ends well
The year 2018 has been a year of growing trade, addressing inefficiencies and gaps across the infrastructure, logistics and supply chain, developing and executing technology-based solutions. The industry welcomed 2018 in high spirits as India’s containerised trade was riding a high tide. The confidence received a further boost when Finance Minister allocated `5.97 lakh crore in the budget for infrastructure, marking an all-time high allocation to rail and road sectors. On the regulatory front, Cabotage relaxation, revised Model Concession Agreement for major ports, National Logistics Policy, policy for MMLPS, e-sealing of containers and e-way bill contributed to improving efficiency of cargo movement, which reflects in the spirited uptick of India’s containerised trade during the subsequent quarters of 2018.
Trade with BRICS partner nations has seen a rise of 14 per cent. Promoting trade with Asia Pacific Trade Agreement members India declared concessions on 3,142 products. During the period April to September 2018, major ports recorded a growth of 5.12 per cent and together handled 343.26 million tonnes of cargo as against 326.54 million tonnes during the previous year. India’s rank in Trading Across Borders has taken a quantum leap from 146 to 80 in the Doing Business report of World Bank. The improvement in trading across borders by 66 ranks in one go shows how trade facilitation has helped in cutting down time and cost.
GST erased inefficiencies in tax system and enabled faster transit times, bringing 1820% savings to the trade, and benefit from GST is expected to be $215 billion by 2020. East-west DFCS, about 800 kms of which was scheduled to be accomplished this year, will provide seamless connectivity to the hinterlands. DPD has transformed the role of CFS, making them more crucial for swift cargo delivery. The logistics industry has seen many service providers transform into end-to-end solutions providers. While the industry took to digitalisation, many technology start-ups offering solutions on Blockchain and AI cropped up and will be the catalyst in transforming an efficient supply chain.
Coastal shipping has seen more takers in South East Asia. India and Bangladesh being the pioneer, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are following the suit with many more among the BIMSTEC countries planning a shift to this cost-efficient mode. Not to stay behind, inland water transport is set to pick up in a big way, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the multimodal terminal developed in Varanasi on NW-1 and as Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari flagged off cargo movement on the Pandu-dhubri route.
The year 2018 has seen a lot of positive energy surround the industry and is here to sign off on a happy note. The industry is in a stand-still waiting for the elections to get over and perhaps expects to move forward with the same zeal in the New Year. Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
The improvement in trading across borders by 66 ranks in one go shows how trade facilitation has helped in cutting down time and cost.