NITI Aayog, RMI and RMI India’s new report, Fast Tracking Freight in India: A Roadmap for Clean and Cost-Effective Goods Transport, presents key opportunities for India to reduce its logistics costs.

Freight transport in India

  • Freight transportation is a critical backbone of India’s growing economy, and now more than ever, it’s important to make this transport system more cost-effective, efficient, and cleaner.
  • Due to the rising demand for goods and services, freight transport demand is expected to grow rapidly in the future.
  • While freight transport is essential to economic development, it is plagued by high logistics costs and contributes to rising COemissions and air pollution in cities.

Highlights of the Roadmap

  • According to the report, India has the potential to:
  1. Reduce its logistics cost by 4% of GDP
  2. Achieve 10 gigatonnes of cumulative CO2emissions savings between 2020 and 2050
  3. Reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions by 35% and 28%, respectively, until 2050
  • The report outlines solutions for the freight sector related to policy, technology, market, business models, and infrastructure development.

Various recommendations

  • The recommendations include increasing the rail network’s capacity, promoting intermodal transport, improving warehousing and trucking practices, policy measures and pilot projects for clean technology adoption, and stricter fuel economy standards.
  • When successfully deployed at scale, the proposed solutions can help India establish itself as a leader in logistics innovation and efficiency in the Asia–Pacific region and beyond.

Transforming the system

  • As India’s freight activity grows five-fold by 2050 and about 400 million citizens move to cities, a whole system transformation can help uplift the freight sector.
  • This transformation will be defined by tapping into opportunities such as efficient rail-based transport, the optimization of logistics and supply chains, and a shift to electric and other clean-fuel vehicles.
  • These solutions can help India save ₹311 lakh crore cumulatively over the next three decades.

Source: Civils Daily