Poor transport infra adds to exporters’ woes
Deepak Kumar | The Dollar Business
The poor road condition in and around Punjabi Bagh transport centre — a major logistic hub for exporters in the national capital region — has been making a dent on India’s overseas trade for the past five years. Trucks and container vehicles transporting goods to different ports across the country often get stuck in massive snarls triggered by stationary vehicles broken down due to potholes and encroachment of public space along the roads. Logistic agencies ferrying goods from manufacturing plants to ports face huge losses on a daily basis due to the lack of maintenance. Traders say that the road which connects the transport centre to the main highway is unable to accommodate larger vehicles, especially port containers. “The road is full of potholes and it hasn’t been repaired for four-five years. Some of them are big enough to trap smaller trucks. There are illegal encroachments and trucks lying on both sides of the road since months. Despite complaints to the DDA officials, no action has been taken in this regard,” a senior official at a Delhi-based transport firm told The Dollar Business. According to exporters, the cost of transportation between Delhi and Mumbai port is higher than the total shipment cost of a consignment from Mumbai to Europe and other destinations. Also, poor connectivity delays the container movement, adding to the product cost. Those ferrying perishable items like fruits, vegetable, and flowers suffer the most. “Cost of transportation and wastage of fuel on unpaved roads leads to delays in delivery and it often ruins the whole shipment,” added the official. Even though the government is making a colossal effort to bolster India’s exports through the “Make in India” initiative, the country’s overseas trade has been witnessing contraction for past eight months. The government attributed this slowdown to the global demand. However, the lack of infrastructure and increased transportation cost seem to be equally responsible for the continuous fall in the export sector. India aims to increase its annual merchandise export up to $900 billion by 2019-20. In the last financial year, the country’s overall export was worth $447 billion.
August 22, 2015 | 5:26pm IST.