Logistics Secretary stresses on digitalisation to bring down logistics cost

Special Logistics Secretary Pawan Kumar Agarwal
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Special Logistics Secretary Pawan Kumar Agarwal, on Friday, while speaking at a webinar on ‘EXIM Trade in New Normal’ organised by The Madras Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), stressed on the logistics industry‚Äôs need to reduce the cost by at least 5% and urged the industry to adopt digital solutions to address the inefficiencies and reduce documentation process.

Mr Agarwal voiced his concern that nearly 30% of documentation are redundant and only one third gets submitted more than once.

He said this while pointing towards a recent study by Aian Development Bank on JNPT and Vizag ports. He said that the findings said that in port operations anything between 80 and 145 documents are sought, of which nearly 30% are redundant.

Considering the above he suggested a uniform port documentation model that can be customised by each port according to their local requirements.

Mr Agarwal also raised a very interesting point. He said that although the logistics cost in India is known to be as high as 13% compared with the global average of just 8%, however, in a recent report by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), a non-profit think tank, it was stated that the logistics cost in India is around 8.1%.

“We should not give too much importance to the figures. Rather than focussing on numbers, we should look at addressing inefficiencies in the system. There is a lot of scope to improve,” said the Logistics Secretary.

Speaking on the much-awaited National Logistics Portal, the secretary said that the portal will be ready in the next 6-8 months and in the meantime they are thinking of rolling something, which can be integrated when the Portal is ready.

In 2018, the FM during her Budget Speech announced that the Department of Commerce will create a portal, which will link all the stakeholders of EXIM, domestic trade and movement and all trade activities on a single platform.

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