USIBC Interacts with India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Infrastructure Collaboration
The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) hosted a roundtable discussion on May 3 with Mr. Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, along the sidelines of the India Integrated Transport & Logistics Summit 2017. The discussion featured keynote remarks from Secretary Mitra, presentation of investment opportunities by Joint Secretary Leena Nandan, industry remarks by Dr. Ravindra Verma of Mobility Infrastructure Group on infrastructure financing, and launch of the USIBC Task Force on Supply Chain Standards and Practices by Mr. Mike Mullin of Brambles Limited. Mr. Sanjay Nayar, CEO of KKR India and USIBC Board Member, chaired the meeting.
The roundtable was attended by senior executives of more than 50 companies that included AECOM, Adani Group, Allcargo Logistics, Caterpillar, CHEP, Coca-Cola Company, FedEx Express, Honeywell, IL&FS, Indospace, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart. Senior officials from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Shipping, and the National Highways Authority of India, were also in attendance. Mr. Manish Saigal, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal, moderated the discussion between government and industry.
Addressing the Secretary and his team, Dr. Ravindra Verma, Founder and Chairman of the Mobility Infrastructure Group, noted: “Under the able leadership of Honorable Minister Shri Gadkari, the road transport sector has been revived and received the much needed vision and impetus. This includes much higher government budget allocation, faster clearances and land acquisition, coupled with enhanced private sector participation. Over the next five years, more than USD $100 billion capital is needed in this sector, and up to half is expected to come from the private sector. Hence, it is timely and critical that we continue to explore the full potential of U.S.-India collaboration in the road sector.”
Speaking to investors, Joint Secretary Nandan highlighted the investment opportunities present in the country, by elaborating on the various initiatives undertaken by his Ministry to improve the logistics efficiency by development of a network of economic corridors, multimodal logistics parks, greenfield ports, coastal economic zones, port led development, river ports and inland waterways.
Secretary Mitra stressed upon the need for bilateral and trilateral cooperation in improving the transportation sector. He highlighted the various bilateral transportation agreements being finalized with countries such as the U.S., Iran, UAE, Singapore and the SAARC nations. Secretary Mitra also highlighted the various initiatives being undertaken by the Government in partnership with various countries to improve the transport infrastructure in the region such as development of Chabahar Port, multimodal logistics hub at Varanasi, Sahibgunj, and Haldia for easy transportation of goods into northeast states and Bangladesh. His team stressed the scope for collaboration with the U.S. on logistics, alternate technology for road building, use of new machinery, trucking standards, fleet modernization, safety features of vehicles, and road safety standards to name a few.
The Secretary also wholeheartedly welcomed the initiative of the U.S.-India Business Council in setting up a Task Force on Supply Chain Standards and Practices and said, “With the expected growth in the logistics sector post the GST era in the country, a task force on supply chain standards and practices will help the Indian industries adopt the global best practices in supply chain and logistics to improve their competitiveness in the global platform.”
Recognizing that the government’s initiatives are creating a tipping point to further strengthen India’s supply chain – an important enabler of the Minister Gadkari’s infrastructure development vision – USIBC launched its Task Force on Supply Chain Standards and Practices. Chairing the Task Force, Mr. Mike Mullin, Senior Director, Global Government and Public Affairs, Brambles Limited, said, “The Task Force member companies welcome the opportunity to collaborate with government and other stakeholders in the areas of supply chain standardization and packaging, post-GST innovation, resource efficiency and digitization, cross-border movements as well as support for SMEs and smallholder farmers. We will use the task force to both build understanding and identify opportunities to turn shared ideas into actions in order to deliver positive results for the people of India.” The Task Force is an initiative of the USIBC Transport and Logistics Committee.
Mr. Dhruv Phophalia and Mr. Manish Saigal, Managing Directors at Alvarez & Marsal, highlighted findings from their new research: “The Indian logistics industry is rife with fragmentation and inefficiencies, but also presents opportunities for disruption, that could generate attractive investment prospects. As the Indian logistics industry shifts from unorganized to organized, the need for supply chain performance improvement and logistics companies that serve as supply chain partners will help advance investment opportunities. By 2025, organized logistics could be a US$50 billion opportunity in India.”
USIBC members also participated in the India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit hosted by the Government on May 4-5 and shared thoughts and best practices as part of panel discussions and presentations ranging from urban transportation, supply chain transformation, to multimodal logistics.