Driving To Deliver Your Business

App on truckers to speed up cargo movement from ports

NEW DELHI: India is eyeing an ambitious shift in shipping logistics with an ‘Uber-like’ facility that could radically change the way merchandise is moved into or out of ports. This ‘Uberisation’, as officials call it now, at sea ports is set to begin with India’s largest container port, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai.

The government has invited requests for proposal for creating this system, which would allow an importer or exporter to select a trucker via his phone app to transport goods directly from port to warehouse. The move is a part of the country’s big plan, drawn up by the customs in consultation with other departments, to bring down the time taken for imports delivery at sea ports to 48 hours and airports to 24 hours by 2020.

“Request for proposals has been issued,” said a senior government official privy to the development. This will allow importers sitting in their offices to pre-feed data and get customs cleared goods via transport directly from ports. This is being done as customs cleared goods also at times get stuck due to issues with transport logistics, which leads to pile up at ports with freight agents.

The customs department has already cut the dwell time, or the time taken at ports, to 140 hours from 286 hours in 2013. This, in fact, has been brought down to 62 hours is case of direct port delivery. The department is looking to expand the programme which is restricted to large importers at present.

A direct port delivery, or wharfto-warehouse, facility has also been introduced that allows importers to take delivery of goods immediately after the cargo landed, instead of it being transferred to a freight station with information about the arrival of goods going to the importers via SMS. Introduced at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, also known as Nhava Sheva, the facility is now available also Chennai, Vizag, Mundra and others. The customs department is now keen that more importers, even the small ones, avail of this facility.

For exporters, direct port entry has been introduced, bringing down the overall transaction costs as goods do not have to be kept at freight agents and can be brought in at the port only when they have to be loaded on to the ship. India introduced single-window clearance from April 2016 for goods based on certain risks parameters. This allows importers to clear goods sans payment of duty or any mandatory checks if they do not fall in any risk category.

This has also brought down the cost of imports by bringing down transactions costs. “These initiatives have helped reduce the dwell time at Customs,” said Rahul Shukla, executive director, PwC. India is ranked 146 out of 190 countries on the World Bank’s ease of doing business[2] ranking on the ‘trading across borders’ measure and the government feels this can be improved substantially to lift India’s overall rank.

India improved its overall rank to 100 this year from 130 last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi[3] wants India to break into the top 50.



  1. ^ Jawaharlal Nehru Port (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
  2. ^ ease of doing business (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
  3. ^ Narendra Modi (economictimes.indiatimes.com)

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