National Logistics Law
At present, multiple acts govern the carriage of goods by different modes in the country. For instance, the carriage of goods by land is governed by ‘The Carriage by Road Act, 2007’ and ‘The Railways Act, 1989’; carriage of goods by air is governed by ‘The Carriage by Air Act, 1972’; carriage of goods by sea is governed by ‘The (Indian) Bills of Lading Act, 1856’, ‘The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1925’ and ‘The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958’. Additionally, multimodal transportation of goods outside India is governed by ‘The Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993’).
Multiplicity of laws has resulted in fragmentation of the regulatory environment, including creation of multiple governing bodies, complex processes and varying documentation requirements and liabilities under the respective laws. Such multiplicity and fragmentation lead to sub-optimal performance and utilisation of logistics assets. There is a need to streamline the regulatory regime for carriage of goods by different modes.
The National Logistics Law (NLL) is aimed at providing a unified legal framework for different modes and enable coordinated development of the logistics sector in conjunction with the National Logistics Policy. This would help to increase efficiency, transparency, competitiveness, and ensure modernization of logistics services as well. It will bind all sectors of logistics through a common terminology, standard language, obligations, and liabilities across all modes of transport. A unified law shall provide impetus to multi-modal activities and optimally utilize all modes of transportation.
This law would primarily address three issues – predictability of goods delivery, safety of goods in transit and harmonization of liability regimes across sub-sectors. It will focus on the areas affecting logistics performance and define the roles of various stakeholders, assign a unique identity to LSPs, promote transparency in freight charges, support provision of quality logistics data, coordinated development of multi-modal infrastructure.
An institutional mechanism for coordination and implementation would be essential for implementation of the law and hence a National Logistics Council (NLC) and a Central Advisory Committee for Logistics (CACL), comprising multi-stakeholders and representatives from States/UTs will be constituted. The Logistics Division under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be the nodal point for the implementation of the policy and the logistics law and serve as secretariat to ensure coordination among all the bodies.
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