Investment pacts worth Rs 2 lakh crore have been inked at the maiden integrated logistics summit, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday, pitching for a holistic approach to spur infrastructure growth.
Of the total 34 investment pacts committed, more than 15 pertain to setting up multi-modal logistics parks by state governments along with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHDICL) and Container Corporation of India.
Agreements for port connectivity and land ports were also inked.
"The need of the hour is to come out of silos and join hands for an integrated approach to spur infrastructure growth. Maiden logistics summit in this regard has garnered investment pacts worth Rs 2 lakh crore," Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari said in New Delhi.
The minister said the Rs 2 lakh crore investment committed via 34 MoUs was "just the tip of the iceberg" as the ball has been set rolling after the first mega step of integrating various departments.
Addressing the three-day India Integrated Transport and Logistics (IITL) Summit, the minister said unlike the past, various ministries have joined hands for an integrated approach to boost infrastructure, which in turn would bolster exports and augment the economy.
"Why can't we develop integrated logistics solutions whether by rail, road or water so that our beautiful flowers from Sikkim reach the world market, oranges from Nagpur, Alphonso from Konkan, Litchi from Bihar, grapes from Nasik and apples from Himachal dominate the world market," Gadkari said.
He said after brain-storming by various ministries, a policy could be evolved and sent to the Prime Minister or the Cabinet for approval.
He said logistics costs in India were as high as 18 per cent as compared to 8-10 per cent in China and efforts are being made to bring it down to 12 per cent which in turn could boost exports and achieve double digit GDP growth.
"Lack of logistics unfortunately results in rotting of fruits and vegetables worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore per annum besides rotting of Rs 1.5 lakh crore of food grains," he said.
He said the government was committed to offering a world- class infrastructure that will also see massive work to operationalise waterways.
Work on at least 10 waterways will begin this year, he said adding highways network is also being strengthened.
India has a network of about 5.25 million km of roads, accounting for about 60 per cent of total freight movement.
However, National Highways, the most important links in the Indian road network carrying 40 per cent of total traffic movement, account for just 2 per cent of the total road network.
The government has taken steps to improve the national highway network by setting up of six corridors (four legs of Golden Quadrilateral, North-South and East-West corridors).
These corridors carry 35 per cent of total road freight. Additionally, with 14,500 km of navigable inland waterways and a 7,500-km coastline, India has an immense potential for inland and coastal transportation.
However, transportation through inland waterways has a share of less than 5 per cent in the total logistics volumes.
In comparison, China and EU transport about 45 per cent of shipments through inland waterways.
The 34 MoUs inked in New Delhi were in the areas of port connectivity, Integrated Check Posts (ICP) in the states of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Manipur, access to land port in Tripura, Assam and Mizoram and development of Logistics Parks in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Mizoram.
Others pertained to development and furthering of multi- modal logistics parks in Mumbai and Bengaluru and Haryana, exploring investment opportunities in logistics sector, dredging of inland waterways, implementation of 79 port connectivity projects under Sagarmala, development of port roads to Chennai and Visakhapatnam ports and connectivity to airport in Navi Mumbai.
Some of these MoUs are between government agencies while others are in the government-to-business and business-to- business segments.
The Summit was attended by around 3,000 delegates from India and abroad, which included central and state government organisations, international organisations like World Bank and ADB, global transport and supply chain experts and representatives of private companies.