The government has taken initiatives in the past few years to speed up infrastructure development and streamline coordination between industries. Stepping up the supply chain and logistics operations has become a critical mission in this regard. With newer policies and major attention to the logistics sector in the last budget, there have been various opportunities where they acknowledged that India’s GDP growth depends on the advancement of supply chain operations as it impacts how businesses function on a global scale.
The Indian government has always taken new initiatives to ensure that logistics can become a boon to our growing economy. Therefore, the ministry of commerce established the Logistics Division on 7th July 2017 by amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, for the sole purpose of developing the logistics sector of India.
National Logistics Policy of India
PM Gati Shakti National Plan, launched on 13th October 2021, was an initiative with the sole purpose of reducing logistic costs, increasing its overall efficacy, and improving our supply chain connectivity. The national logistic department under the new government had been doling out various policies like the National Rail Plan, Bharatmala, and Sagarmala to develop our country’s infrastructure. They have also implemented the Good & Services Tax and various digital reforms to alleviate and reform the logistic and cost process.
As per a report published by the World Bank, India’s Logistic Performance Index score went from 30% in 2007 to 90% in 2016, which is substantial growth. During the pandemic, the world GDP took a major hit. As per the 2021 report of Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS), the global market growth regarding Merchandise trade volume in 2020 changed to 5.3 points negative, which was genuinely concerning for the world economy. But in 2021, the same trade volume increased to 10.3, favouring global growth. The pandemic just intensified the existing supply chain problems to a magnified level. This pushed all the shippers to recheck their supply chain and logistics methods.
This change also affected the Indian market, and the Indian government decided to take necessary actions and deploy policies for the same. India has become the fifth largest economy in the world, and now we envision a $5 Trillion economy by 2030. The government has targeted improvements in the manufacturing and logistics, and supply chain markets to achieve the same. The recently launched national logistics policy is one of the key initiatives, with the Unified Logistics Interface Platform as an essential pillar.
The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of ULIP
In the Union Budget of 2022-23, Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman, Hon’ble Finance Minister, mentioned that ULIP would be helpful in data exchange between mode operators, allowing for a cost-effective and time-bound movement of goods, efficient inventory management, and easy documentation. She further iterated that this would provide real-time information to all stakeholders and improve international competitiveness.
Now let us discuss the ULIP, Unified Logistic Interface Platform. As the name suggests, it is a unified platform that provides different services to various stakeholders:
For Consignees: real-time inventory management, real-time monitoring of cargo movements, cheaper logistic routes, etc.
For Shippers: simplifying documentation processes, adding value to end-customers by optimising pricing, strategy, cost, and labour.
For Transporters: identification of the demand and transparency will assist truckers in reducing the waiting time and empty movements, reducing cost and maintenance.
For Government: it will be a planning tool for the government in building logistical infrastructure, increasing transparency, promoting ease of doing business, and enhancing cooperation between stakeholders to improve the utilisation of various modes of transport.
The government has also integrated ULIP with various government APIs, namely:
Port Community System
Terminal Operating System
Air Cargo Message Exchange System
AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services
Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
Freight Operation Information System (FOIS)
Logistic Data Bank
The various APIs of the Unified Logistic Interface Platform
As we can see the ULIP integrates with 24 systems, 78 APIs, and 1454 fields to establish a global cooperative network that will be beneficial for various sectors including railway, shipping, aviation, finance, etc. We also need to understand that this entire process will be multi-modelled.
Integrating ULIP with various APIs like VAHAN and SARATHI has advantages, which we can explain further with an example mentioned below:
For instance, if a transport company personnel needs to check the background of a trucker, they had to access the SARATHI portal previously. With the emergence of ULIP, they can now have a single integrated platform where they can find all the necessary details of the trucker. In the same way, to get details of the vehicle, they need to provide the vehicle number, chassis number, or engine number to the integrated system, which will then request the same from the VAHAN API. This unification will increase the applications’ overall usability and significantly speed up the verification and documentation process.
FASTag was implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to collect tolls electronically and decrease overall traffic. FASTag is an electronic chip fitted with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which automatically makes toll payments with prepaid accounts linked with FASTag. But this payment activity also captures the vehicle’s time stamp whenever it passes a toll plaza. When integrated with a visibility platform, it can attribute the toll’s location with the vehicle’s milestone-based location.
This easily lets a shipper get the location of his truck, especially if it’s travelling inter-state. With its extensive coverage of more than 800 tolls across the country, its accuracy can help for toll-based visibility of 90 lacs+ commercial vehicles.
FOIS and PCS
As the country’s only railway API, FOIS enables milestone visibility of 9000+ freight trains. The integration captures real-time shipment arrival and dispatch times by tracking 1400 million metric tons of goods worth Rs 1.43 lakhs crore per year. FOIS integration visions to reduce demurrages and wharfages and increase the efficiency of rake movements, leading to greater adoption of an alternate transportation mode.
Moreover, the Port Community System (PCS) was introduced in 2006 to improve port efficiency and ease business operations. The vision is to enhance logistics efficiency by implementing projects of port modernisation and connectivity. There has been a 64.66 % increase in container traffic at Indian ports in 2020-21 as compared to 2014-15, as Direct Port Delivery (DPD) increased from 39.15 per cent to 62.48% in FY2021. Moreover, it is expected to increase by 2.5 times by 2030, necessitating a more integrated approach to address such challenges.
Advantages of the Integration
The ULIP integration will help companies drive down logistics costs, improve logistics efficiency and assist them in going multimodal. I will have the following advantages:
The amalgamation of pre-existing data sources: Integrating data from various ministries will become part of ULIP, enabling a smooth-running chain. The informal unification of ministries will save time in getting clearances and authorisation needed on multiple levels. It will also allow parties to survive through compliance nightmares.
Sharing of data between private companies: Another aspect of this integration is that all the private companies will be able to exchange data across stakeholders to ease logistical issues.
Unified chain: The most crucial aspect of ULIP is digitised documentation and one key to unlock all the information. This will save you from going through the hassle of going through silos of data.
Data is now said to be the new oil, which is currently being used and exploited by all companies worldwide. Intugine is using this oil to simplify our customers’ logistical complexities and give them better access to the unified visibility interface. Being one of the first in this space to implement this plethora of integrations, Intugine has gained expertise in leveraging this technology, making our intelligent system even smarter, more transparent and robust. Get in touch with us today and explore how these integrations can make you more competitive in adopting other modes of transport.