India’s government is launching an online logistics portal to boost ex…


  • In his budget speech earlier this year, Arun Jaitley announced that the commerce ministry was developing a National Logistics Portal.
  • The platform will function as a one-stop shop for traders and manufacturers, and not only connect them with logistics service providers but also avail of certification from 81 government entities.
  • The platform, which is set to go live next year, is expected to improve price discovery reduce logistics costs and boost exports and manufacturing.

The Indian government is readying a national logistics and trade e-platform to reduce costs and ease the process of price discovery.

The idea behind the online marketplace is to enroll all the transport and logistics vendors on one platform and allow prospective clients and companies to compare prices and choose the option that works best for them. In doing so, the National Logistics Portal (NLP) is expected to ease the transport of goods around India as well as for export purposes. For example, exporters can find the cheapest transport provider for their foreign shipments.

The platform will function as a one-stop shop for traders and manufacturers, and not only connect them with logistics service providers but also avail of certification from 81 government entities such as the Railways Ministry, Sea and Air Port Terminal Authority, Roads and Highways ministry and Customs department.

Launch date in 2019

The announcement of the NLP came in this year’s
Union Budget. It follows the successful launch of the government’s e-marketplace (GeM) in August 2016. The GeM operates on a smaller scale, and is a portal for all government procurement deals. It was established to streamline the purchase of goods and services by government ministries and departments.

The initial legwork on the NLP is already underway. Following the platform’s approval by a committee of secretaries in the commerce ministry, a tender to develop the online platform will be issued in October, with the end goal of commencing a trial run of the portal by March next year. The Union Cabinet will have to approve the entity that wins the bid.

The subsequent phases of the portal’s launch will involve the implementation of a single window certification mechanism to approve transactions and the integration of an online payment component. A mobile application will also be developed, which will allow buyers to track their goods in real time.

Logistics costs currently total as much as 14% of GDP owing to multiple clearance windows and overlapping regulations. With the launch of the portal, the government wishes to reduce that figure to 10% in the next couple of years, which will inevitably boost exports.



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