The National Logistics Portal — a digital platform being developed by the Commerce Department to bring all stakeholders in the logistics sector on board to cut down transaction cost and time for businesses — will help various infrastructure Ministries and Departments design their expansion plans better, a government official said.
“The logistics portal will help identify the most cost-effective logistics options for businesses. For example, there may be more movement of a particular commodity by road for which our portal may show that the railway option would actually be cheaper as it is a bulk commodity. We may then realise that the railway is not being used as there are not enough terminals available for the product. We could then discuss the issue with the Railway Ministry to see if the required infrastructure is created,” said N Sivasailam, Special Secretary, Logistics, Commerce & Industry Ministry.
The Commerce Department has already started holding discussions with line Ministries, such as Shipping, to identify where there is need for more terminals, he added.
The RFP (request for proposal) for developing and running the portal will be floated in January. Although the team in the Commerce Ministry working on the portal has already developed a rough structure, officials said that the vendor that gets selected will be free to take its own decision.
Officials said the data for the online portal was being collected from all possible sources, including linkages to various applications of different Ministries and Departments. The Finance Ministry would establish linkage to SWIFT/ICEGATE, the Shipping Ministry to Port Community Management System, Ministry of Railways to FOIS and Ministry of Civil Aviation to Air Cargo Community System. “All the linkages will hopefully happen next month,” another official said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget speech, had announced that the Department of Commerce will create a portal which will be a single window online market place for trade and will connect business, create opportunities and bring together various ministries, departments and the private sector.
The portal will provide a single platform to traders, manufacturers, logistics service providers, infrastructure providers, financial services, government departments and groups and associations to come together.
The four main components of the portal include a logistics e-market place, a logistics certification platform, an integrated regulatory platform and a banking and financial services platform.