In New Delhi: One of the main takeaways from the recently released National Logistics Policy is the introduction of warehousing standards as well as digital services like Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) and electronic logbooks (E-LogS) (NLP).
The NLP, introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, aims to reduce logistics costs from the current 13% to a single-digit percentage, saving Indian industries both time and money.
It intends to support the construction of important facilities including air freight stations, inland container depots, and container freight stations and provides a legal framework for logistics efficiency as well as digital portals to speed transportation.
The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan is intended to be complemented by the policy.
The NLP is concerned with developing digital services and a legal framework that would help streamline the logistics ecosystem in India, whereas Gati Shakti is focused on the creation of integrated infrastructure.
The NLP also provides an electronic manual for uniform warehousing practises across the nation. To cut costs, boost efficiency, and ensure Indian goods are competitive internationally, it will compile current standards and best practises from throughout the world.
“National Logistics Policy complements PM Gati Shakti and together, they would revolutionise logistics efficiency in the country. Standardisation of various aspects such as warehousing will lead to optimisation and efficiency gains,” Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary Anurag Jain told ThePrint.
Which online services does NLP provide?
The ULIP and the E-LogS are the NLP’s two primary digital services.
The ULIP is a single web portal that may be used by companies, service providers, shippers, consignees, and other parties to enable real-time information interchange. It aims to overcome the problems caused by manual and delayed processes.
The ULIP is already operational, according to the trade ministry.
The DPIIT created the E-LogS, a digital dashboard for recording and following up on user concerns with services, documentation, procedures, policy, etc. This mechanism will be under the control of the “Services Improvement Group,” a collection of executives chosen from several ministries.
According to Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), other components of the policy, such as its legal framework and the facilitation of essential infrastructure, may take longer to execute than the digital services offered under the NLP.
“While the NLP is utilising tech for setting up services like the ULIP, it also seeks to develop multi-modal logistics parks, correct skewed transportation routes, etc. Digital services like ULIP are currently functional, but facilitation of key infrastructure may take three to five years,” Sahai told ThePrint.
The response of exporters
While welcoming the NLP, exporters in high-value industries like diamonds and jewellery have expressed concern about the rollout of digital services like the ULIP.
The logistics for the gems and jewellery industry are “well-defined,” according to Sabyasachi Ray, executive director of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC), but they still need insurance, security guards, and safe transportation of items overall.
“The E-Logs dashboard and ULIP are steps in the right direction. However, it will depend on how fast these are implemented by the government agencies and without teething glitches in the initial implementation,” he said.
According to Siddhartha Rajagopal, executive director of Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council, the NLP has benefits for the Indian textile sector as well. This business is “fragmented” by nature due to widely spread manufacturing networks (Texprocil).
“Logistics in the textile value chain are necessary for order processing, production, warehousing, transportation and distribution. Difficulty in meeting stringent global delivery schedules due to lack of efficient logistics ecosystem puts the textile industry at severe disadvantage,” Rajagopal told ThePrint.
The necessity of the hour, he continued, is for dedicated rail and road freight routes, port and inland waterway connectivity, and emergency air delivery of high-value, perishable goods.