The Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari launched the TCI IIM Calcutta joint study report on the operational efficiency of freight transportation by road in India in New Delhi today. The report is based on a study commissioned by the Transport Corporation of India (TCI), of 28 routes in the country over the period 2014-15.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkari said that he would soon constitute a group within the Ministry to study the report and implement its recommendations. He said that his Ministry has taken many steps to facilitate safe, seamless and efficient transportation of people and goods by road. On the safety front engineering solutions are mandatorily being incorporated into road designs to make them safer, accident black spots are being rectified, safety standards are being set for automobiles, issue of driving licenses is being computerized and training centres are being set up for drivers. A Group of Ministers is working to finalize ways and means to make road travel in the country safer, and will submit its report shortly. To cut down delays due to stoppage, Electronic Toll Collection is being brought in soon. 380 Toll Plazas have been equipped for this . Building roadside amenities, green highways, widening of National Highways, conversion of State Highways to National Highways and ensuring speedy construction are other steps that are being taken to make road transport efficient, he said.
The Minister also informed that his Ministry is actively working to promote transportation of freight through waterways, as this brings down logistics cost drastically. He informed that in China about 47 % of the freight is carried through waterways, in Japan and Korea it is about 43-44 percent and in European countries more than 40 percent. In India only about 6 percent of the freight is carried through waterways. He said his Ministry is committed to raising this percentage on a priority basis as this will make Indian products more competitive. He informed that for this, many waterways projects are already under various stages of implementation.
The TCI-IIM study is a follow-up study of the earlier studies, also commissioned by TCI, in 2008-09 and 2011-12. The objective of the study was to make an assessment of the operational efficiency of freight transportation by road and recommend ways to improve the same. The 2014-15 study compares route statistics from the earlier report periods 2008-09 and 2011-12 to assess changes over this period.
The report says that although the average journey time and vehicle speed have improved across all the major routes, more needs to be done to reduce stoppage delays as this not only leads to wastage of time but also raises fuel consumption cost. Besides improving the toll collection infrastructure, the number of stops for various other purpose, such as documentation check and tax collection at state borders/check posts and on-road police intervention, should be minimized and the process of document checking and tax collection simplified to facilitate a smooth and seamless flow of goods across the country. The report also recommends that Government should ensure that trucker replace their old, fuel-inefficient vehicles with new-generation fuel-efficient vehicles like multi-axle tractor-trailer units.
The study also stresses upon the need to encourage multi modal transportation of goods in a big way as this is more efficient, economic and environment friendly. In this context the study recommends promoting transportation of freight by railways and waterways.