Commerce Ministry Logistics Division plans Freight Smart Cities

The Commerce Ministry’s Logistics Division has decided to work in a phased manner to improve the city freight movement by envisioning the concept of ‘Freight Smart Cities’.

The Logistics Division has engaged with subject experts and technical organizations to devise a roadmap for improvement in freight movement in the Indian cities. The roadmap envisions the concept of ‘Freight Smart Cities’ to improve the efficiency of urban freight and create an opportunity for reduction in the logistics costs.

This is all the more relevant as the demand for urban freight is expected to grow by 140 per cent over the next 10 years. Final-mile freight movement in Indian cities is currently responsible for 50 per cent of total logistics costs in India’s growing e-commerce supply chains. Improving city logistics would also enable efficient freight movement and bring down the logistics costs boosting all sectors of the economy.

During the consultative meeting chaired by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri on freight smart cities, the logical next steps were discussed with technical details and specific examples of cities that have progressed in this direction were shared.

On this occasion, Hardeep Singh Puri launched the website on ‘Freight Smart Cities’ and also released a handbook outlining 14 measures that can be taken to improve urban freight.

Puri said, “India is undergoing robust, vibrant and autonomous urbanisation. A shift from regulatory to a more organic approach making use of the enabling technologies is required to be adopted by the policy makers and city planners taking into account the aspirations of citizens and planning for their requirements.”

He urged the state governments to identify ten cities, to begin with, to be developed as Freight Smart Cities and also to set up institutional mechanisms for the same involving the government as well as private stakeholders like logistics services providers, users and citizens.

He also asked the states/city governments to focus on the quick-wins like developing peri-urban freight centres, night-time deliveries, developing truck routes, using intelligent transportation systems & modern technologies, promoting electrification of urban freight, parcel delivery terminals etc.

Under the Freight Smart Cities initiative, city-level logistics committees would be formed. These committees would have related government departments and agencies at the local level, state and from the reacted central ministries and agencies. These would also include the private sector from the logistics services and also users of logistics services. These committees would co-create City Logistics Plans to implement performance improvement measures locally.

On the Freight Smart City initiatives, the Logistics Division is working closely with GIZ (Germany) under Indo-German Development Cooperation, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India.

From the ten cities to be identified on immediate basis, it is planned to expand the list to 75 cities in the next phase before scaling up throughout the country including all state capitals and cities that have more than one million population. The list of cities to be taken up would however be finalised in consultation with the state governments.

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