Decrease ocean freight, digitise provide chain

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27

The most-affected sector during the pandemic was logistics. However, as the lockdown curbs eased, it proved to be a crucial sector to keep the economy running. Let’s have a look what the industry expects from the Budget:

Digitise supply chain

According to the industry, the government should invest in the digitisation of supply chain management with a focus on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and internet of things.

Lower ocean freight

The government should consider lowering ocean freight which is driven by demand-supply scenario. “This will reduce the shortage of containers which occurred due to port congestion and delays last year. Besides this, the government should fund large port construction for container trade to fuel the sector’s growth,” said Alok Sharma, CEO & co-founder, NebulARC, a tech logistics company.

Tax rebate on hiring

Section 80JJAA of the I-T Act allows companies to claim 30% rebate for hiring additional employees. The term “employee”, however, excludes staff employed for less than 240 days (in apparel, footwear and leather industry, less than 150 days). “The benefit of hiring for minimum of 150 days should also be extended to the logistics industry. The logistics industry is also seasonal with respect to certain classes of workforce i.e. for drivers and outsourced workers,” said Vineet Agarwal, managing director, Transport Corporation of India Limited.

Parity in operating cost

In order to ensure parity in the operating costs of Indian and foreign shipping companies operating in the coastal waters of India, a suitable provision should be inserted to specifically exempt the wages paid to Indian seafarers by Indian companies from applicability of the provisions of TDS. This would ensure parity in the operating costs of Indian and foreign shipping companies operating on the Indian coast.

One-window solution

The industry is of the view that the logistics can be made cost-effective by enhancing transport system, one-window solution for all customs activities and by avoiding manual interaction at customs and ports.

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