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Efficient Packaging will drive Environmentally Sustainable Logistics: Pawan Agarwal

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While highlighting the importance of Efficient Packaging in boosting Environmentally sustainable logistics, Pawan Agarwal, Special Secretary (Logistics) underlined how packaging serves as the interface between users and logistics companies and efficient and sustainable packaging is the key to environmentally sustainable logistics.

Mr Agarwal talked about it in a consultation meeting organised by the Logistics Division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 9thFebruary.

This consultation was organised to define the scope and the National Packaging Initiative as part of the National Logistics Policy that is presently on the ropes.

It aims to cut down logistics cost, ensure product safety and promote sustainability.

Held with the Confederation of Indian Industry, this consultation entailed shared experiences by various user industries such as food and beverages, e-commerce, 3PLs/4PLs. They all shared their observations on what prevails currently in the Indian packaging space and what needs to be done to achieve better results, which include regulations, standardization/ harmonization, research and development, skilling, sustainability, etc. There was a consensus that secondary and tertiary packaging needs focus.

Valuable inputs on packaging came from the 3PL/4PL participants and more such key players would be involved in the formulation of the National Packaging Initiative. TCI, TVS and APL Logistics were some of the players who represented this segment in Tuesday’s virtual meet.

Returnable packaging – another crucial aspect from the EXIM angle,was put under the spotlight as an important area of intervention. The issue of Palletisation and its role in improving operational logistical efficiency through better cubic utilisation of space during transportation, was also discussed.

Mr Agarwal highlighted that the Logistical efficiency can be driven by the user industry and user ministry and not by the logistic companies.  In this connection, hementioned thatan inter-ministerial meeting would be organized to take it forward.

E-Com companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc. were urged to invest in sustainable packaging as they are one of the biggest users of packaging material. It was highlighted that dangerous and chemical verticals would also need special attention from the packaging perspective

The Special Secretary underlined how research on sustainable packaging solutions implemented overseas demanded greater focus.

While giving his two cents on skilling the workforce, Mr. Agarwal advised the Indian Institute of Packaging to come up with short term courses to equip the user industry to skill its workforce. He also addressed and advised the Logistics Sector Skill Council to prepare at least 8-10 job roles in the packaging vertical at the earliest to build the talent pool. Recycling and reuse of packaging material were also discussed.

The Special Secretary said that industry, academia and government would need to collaborate to foster research, development, and innovation and the Department of logistics would help lead that effort.

During the consultation, there were also suggestions to rationalise the packaging requirements for bulk goods such as cement, fertiliser, etc; establishing mechanisms for retrieval of packaging material, and the need for a robust reverse logistic mechanism which in turn would reduce cost.

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