Freight Smart Cities
An integrated and efficient city logistics ecosystem enables lower costs in the city, wider market access to its entrepreneurs leading to faster economic development and improved employment opportunities. It also enables for its citizens, better working and living conditions including reduced congestion and environmental impact.
City Logistics is of prime importance, as it is estimated that almost all global trade originates from, traverses through or is destined for metropolitan areas, which act as major hubs in the global goods distribution network. However, City Logistics also grapple with a host of negative aspects or issues, namely- pollution, costs/inefficiencies, accidents and congestions etc., which have adverse impact on the lives of people.
Therefore, a logical and efficient freight transportation planning, as part of the overall transport planning for any city is essential. As a step towards improving logistics in cities, the concept of Freight Smart Cities is being developed and the Logistics Division is collaborating with Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, as well as with the expert institutions and subject matter experts.The defining features of Freight Smart Cities are: -
- Well-prepared sustainable City Logistics Plans
- Adequate & Efficient Green/Sustainable Logistics Infrastructure
- Well-established Institutional Structures
- Application of best available technologies, innovation, digitalisation, standards etc.
The following actions are suggested to be taken to move towards Freight Smart Cities
- Preparation of City Logistics Plans (CLPs)- At city level, a greater focus can be brought in on freight movement through Comprehensive Mobility Plans (CMPs), which can bring in integration of logistic planning for an efficient city logistics ecosystem. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India has developed Guidelines and Best Practices for Sustainable Urban Freight, which will help the cities in mapping freight infrastructure; assessing areas needing improvement; demands assessment; preparation of City Logistics Plan and preparation of an Action Plan for implementation of various sustainable city logistics measures.
- Identification of 75 Cities to be Developed at Freight Smart Cities: The potential cities in the country that can be developed as 75 Freight Smart Cities have been identified based on the population, GDP, geographical location and production & consumption patterns.
- Establishing an Institutional Mechanism- in the form of City Logistics Committees. The key role of the Committee will be to i) facilitate coordination amongst stakeholders; ii) prepare action plans with targets for city logistics planning and infrastructure development and iii) implementation of recommended measures. A City Logistics Committee is expected to bring together stakeholders from both public (this will include central, state and city level government) and private sector, who will together formulate and act on solutions to make the urban logistics more efficient, cleaner and sustainable.
- Creating a pool of technical expertise: The Logistics Division is considering designating the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) as the nodal institute for programme management. Various technical institutions have come forward to provide support the Freight Smart Cities programme, including the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), School of Planning & Architecture (Delhi and Bhopal), IIT (Delhi and Madras), Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology – Ahmedabad (CEPT) etc. In addition, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will be extending Technical Cooperation under the ongoing Indo German Development Cooperation project on Green Freight.
During the First States Conference on Logistics Sessions held on 19th January 2021, the States agreed to the above mentioned key elements to mark as a good start. The States and UTs have implemented various best practices for efficient management of city logistics, some of which are mentioned below.
- Created a dedicated Logistics Division, to be handled by Visveswaraya Trade Promotion Center (the State nodal agency for export promotion)
- Nominated Additional Chief Secretary – Commerce & Industries Dept. as nodal officer for development of logistics sector
- Formulated State Industrial Policy 2020 - 2025 which identifies Logistics as a key focus sector and offers several incentives for development of the sector
- Facilitating fast-track clearances for logistics sector projects
- Formulated Parking Policy for Bengaluru to streamline development of truck terminals, time based parking options etc.
- Established Logistics Academies in three districts on PPP with Government support
- Constructed peripheral ring road in Bengaluru for uninterrupted movement of regional freight, thus reducing congestion and pollution within the city
- Provided smooth metro rail connectivity within the city of Bengaluru to decongest the city
- The State has encouraged use of Electric Vehicles for transportation of goods
- Adopted Smart Parking initiative by using in-ground Smart Parking sensors, cameras or counting sensors
During the break-out session, it was also agreed upon that logistics planning is the right strategy as against the restrictions implemented by different States. The Logistics Division of Department of Commerce (DoC) in collaboration with Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is also scheduling a conference on “City Logistics” very soon with participation from all the States and UTs with prime focus on issues and action plans around integrated development of city logistics within the States.Freight Smart Cities