Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex body of the automobile industry held its 5th SIAM Automotive Logistics Conclave, a 2 day event, where delegates spoke on opportunities and bottlenecks plaguing the sector with fluctuating fuel prices, lower skillsets, lack of multi-modal transport and digitisation as impediments of growth.

Prem K Verma, Chairman, SIAM Logistics Group and Project Leader- Tata Motors while speaking at the inaugural session themed: “Value Creation through Operational Efficiency” said the automotive logistics industry need to focus on skill development and ensure efficiency in its system and cost to enhance the supply chain. The current situation needs improvement.

“We have been going through challenging times with fluctuating fuel prices and lower skillsets. Automobile Industry will contribute towards 12 per cent of country’s total GDP along with its contribution in government’s Make in India initiative. SIAM has worked on policy interventions. A Special Logistics Secretariat under the Ministry of Commerce, which is a nodal agency which will make sure that it resolves issues for logistics. We have started seeing fruits of our efforts,” he asserted.

Anurag Mehrotra, Managing Director of Ford India urged the government to create better multi-modal infrastructure for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), vehicle manufacturer along with adequate policy supports. He was of the view that logistics have a strategic role to play in India’s economy and must get obsessed with technology and must be operationally fit.

“According to World Bank index, logistics sector is imperative to economic growth. However, lack of digital culture and lack of skillsets in India’s logistics sector is a concern. Globally industries are putting in technology and innovation in a big way. It is difficult to know if Amazon is a technology company or a logistics company. The industry needs to get ruthless on efficiency, get obsessed with technology, collaborate with OEM,” Mehrotra explained.

Col Prashant Mishra, Director (Operations) at Land Port Authority of India, speaking at the session themed “Auto Logistics: Way Forward” said the agency is mandated to develop and upgrade land based transport infrastructure and construct the missing links at the borders to facilitate cross border movement of goods. “We are mandated to develop, sanitize and manage land ports at borders to facilitate cross border movement of goods. We have warehouses and setting more such and facilities at borders. There are more than 100 border crossing points out of which 69 are functional. Few others are in the process of modernisation. We are trying to reconnect at borders. About 50 per cent of auto sector’s requirement of Bangladesh is met by India and 90 per cent of Nepal,” informed Col Mishra.

Monica Agnihotri, Executive Director (Freight Marketing), Ministry of Railways said more freight terminals have been established to handle automobile traffic. Indian Railways freight service over half of India’s logistics. This facilitates both large and small consignments. “More rakes and terminals are coming up. The number of rakes load have gone up to 933 during last year from 427 in 2013-14. We anticipate big growth as demand will pick up much faster and will require a lot of infrastructure,” she added.

B Krishnamoorthy, Executive Director (Indian Ports Association), under the Ministry of Shipping said the industry must look at multi-modal transport system including coastal shipping. Cars can be picked-up from the manufacturing facility in India and shipped from at ease and is cost-effective. “Coastal shipping is inherently cheaper and has no congestion. But there are problems like huge transit time and multiple handling which needs to be worked out. The government is working out on expanding both the western and the eastern coastal for shipping more goods,” said Krishnamoorthy.

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