Reducing logistics cost, process improvement through robotics and automation key to Atma Nirbharta, says NITI Aayog’s V K Saraswat

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While addressing a virtual session organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday on ‘How Logistics Will Contribute to Atma Nirbhar Bharat’, Dr V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog highlighted the importance of reducing the logistics cost to make the sector Atma Nirbhar.

“In the Indian context, the logistic sector is estimated to grow at an optimistic rate. We are looking at automation of complete logistics and transportation processes through IoT and computer science,” Saraswat said.

While talking about the time frame associated with a shipment, Saraswat stressed that there is a need to improve on-time delivery to meet last-mile connectivity.

Emphasising on the global trends and need for environment-friendly logistics ensuring eco-friendliness and sustainability, Saraswat mentioned, “We have a goal towards the sustainment logistics dimension that is driven by the economy, society, and environment. India is an emerging market for domestic logistics, international logistics, and business fundamentals.”

Saraswat also discussed about the impact of the pandemic on the logistics sector leading to a slowdown in the sector and focussed on the challenges faced by the logistics sector and the need to overcome these challenges to reduce logistics cost and reduce human intervention in the times to come.

”Technologically driven logistics by adopting new technologies can give a great solution and enhance logistic operations. Logistics services need to have increase agility, credential stability, transparency, and speed. The supply chain needs to become a more resilient better ability to adjust and recover from future difficulties. A new surge in warehousing and demand especially, for temperature-controlled warehousing space will be much better. We need to look at automation and robotics to make logistics more efficient and, greater efficient to the management of private warehouses,” Saraswat said.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, IAS, Special Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in his deliberation mentioned that the logistics sector in one sector which limits government action, they are highly fragmented.

While addressing the challenges faced by the logistics sector, he discussed that looking for logistics from the lens of cost would be unfair. The government has made huge investments in infrastructure, with the support of the private sector. Warehousing and other facilities have largely been created by private companies.

Agarwal mentioned that we have quality infrastructure in place; we need to optimally use it to our advantage. The logistic sector requires joint efforts of the government at all levels along with simplification of the process across Ministries that will further enhance the potential of this sector.

Agarwal discussed that we need to have a good sense of providers, for which we need to put in place a process of registrations for the logistics sector. Formalisation and standardisation of this can help to bring trust and make this sector multi-modal. Digital technologies offer a lot of opportunities to bring in efficiency & to ensure the visibility of warehouses.

We can professionalise this sector by bringing in certification courses and democratise the logistics sector ensuring more efficient and effective, said Agarwal.

Pawanexh Kohli, Former CEO & Chief Advisor, National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) mentioned that Atma Nirbhar means self-determination and self-choice.

Kohli emphasised that logistics is the sole backbone sector that brings the fulfilment of division and ensures delivery. “Logistics translates to being productive and, for which it’s essential to increase the efficiency of land, labour, and capital at the same time meet the immediate demand. Production needs to cater to the demand for the market for which we need organised logistics and helps to meet the supply.”

D K Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his presidential remarks deliberated about the importance of the logistics sector in achieving the goal towards an Atma Nirbhar Bharat in the coming years for which the need is to strengthen our local supply chain and being ‘Vocal for Local’.

“India needs to be a trustworthy partner in this global supply chain and become manufacturing hub. We need to have ease of doing business in the place; reducing the cost of business, for which logistics plays a pivotal role,” said Aggarwal.

Aggarwal discussed the need to have a strong logistics performance index that helps to smoothen the process, maintain quality of trade and transport infrastructure, get competitive pricing, track and trace, and be time-bound towards delivering the shipments. “This index will help to minimise the gaps and help in making logistics multi-modal, aiding to last-mile connectivity.”

Aggarwal also evaluated the challenges faced by the logistics sector along with the initiatives undertaken by the government that will be a game-changer in the industry.

Ramesh Agarwal, Chairman, Logistics Management Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry while giving an industry perspective, discussed the need for a reduction fixed logistics sector from the user and provider side.

Meanwhile Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary General, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his concluding remarks mentioned that a developed logistics sector will play a pivotal role in fulfiling the Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

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