Rapidly growing freight transport in India is plagued by high logistical costs and significantly contributes to rising carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution. To address this concern, a Niti Aayog report titled 'Fast Tracking Freight In India: A Roadmap For Clean and Cost Effective Goods Transport', has suggested that India has the potential to reduce its logistics cost by four per cent of GDP. Also the country can achieve 10 giga tonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions savings between 2020 and 2050.
Further, the report drafted by the Government's think tank, says that India can also reduce nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions by 35 per cent and 28 per cent.
The report further outlined solutions for the freight sector related to policy, technology, market, business models and infrastructure development.
Other recommendations include increasing the rail network's capacity, promoting intermodal transport, improving warehousing and trucking practices, policy measures and pilot projects for clean technology adoption, and stricter fuel economy standards.
When successfully deployed at scale, the proposed solutions can help India establish itself as a leader in logistics innovation and efficiency in the Asia–Pacific region and beyond, it added.
“Freight transportation is a critical backbone of India's growing economy, and now more than ever, it's important to make this transport system more cost-effective, efficient, and cleaner. Efficient freight transport will also play an essential role in realising the benefits of existing government initiatives such as Make in India, Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, and Digital India,” said Sudhendu J Sinha, Adviser (Transport and Electric Mobility), Niti Aayog.
As India's freight activity grows five-fold by 2050 and about 400 million citizens move to cities, a whole system transformation can help uplift the freight sector, the report added further.