Event report

IFCCI Roundtable Meeting with Dr. Surendra Ahirwar, Joint Secretary (Logistics & Trade), DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India

IFCCI convened a virtual Roundtable meeting with Dr. Surendra Ahirwar, Joint Secretary-Logistics and Trade, DPIIT, Govt. of India on 22 February 2024.

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The Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI) convened a virtual Roundtable meeting with Dr. Surendra Ahirwar, Joint Secretary- Logistics and Trade, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, on 22nd February 2024.

To strengthen Indo-French trade and investment relations, IFCCI Committees are focussing largely on creating meaningful advocacy dialogues with the Government of India. This meeting offered a platform to its members in the Logistics and Supply Chain industry to share their concerns and challenges faced with respect to their operations in India.

Commencing the meeting, Ms. Payal Kanwar, Director General, IFCCI, apprised Dr. Surendra Ahirwar about IFCCI, its activities and acknowledged the policy initiatives undertaken by the Govt. of India, namely the National Logistics Policy and the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan, emphasizing their potential to enhance the nation’s logistical ecosystem, operational and supply chain efficiency.

Capt. Ram Iyer, Chairperson, IFCCI Logistics & Supply Chain Committee & Vice President, Seahorse Shipping Agencies, while setting the context for the Meeting, shared the purpose of this meeting and thanked Dr. Ahirwar for his presence. He outlined the objectives of the meeting as follows:

  • Deliberation on industry opportunities arising from policy initiatives such as the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan and the National Logistics Policy
  • Taking note on the challenges encountered by the industry
  • Presentation of recommendations and suggestions from industry stakeholders

Subsequently, Dr. Surendra Ahirwar, in his keynote address, expressed appreciation for IFCCI's endeavors in fostering Indo-French trade and business relations. He specified the vision and the thrust areas of the National Logistics Policy and PM Gati Shakti Master Plan and highlighted the transformative impact of these policies on India's logistics infrastructure, emphasizing their holistic approach, encompassing both physical and intangible aspects. He also talked about the importance of harmonization between all the modes of transportation for better connectivity and efficiency in this sector and emphasized on digitization as one of the focus areas of these policies.

Following this, Ms. Rishika Roy, Head - Committees & Sponsorships, IFCCI, moderated the meeting, setting the stage for interaction.

Industry Leaders shared their concerns and sought recommendations in the following areas:

  • Improvements in vessel window management at ports to avoid delays
  • Need for more freighters for direct routes to Paris
  • Need for a sustainable transportation reducing carbon footprint in logistics making rail freight competitive
  • Increase LNG, CNG, and electric vehicle stations to promote cleaner energy
  • Improvement in transportation network and the infrastructure, including development of Multi Modal Parks
  • Enhancing Port connectivity
  • Regulatory support to facilitate smoother freight operations
  • Streamlining import-export processes to reduce bureaucratic hurdles
  • Unification of import-export documentation and digitization is the need of the hour

Dr. Ahirwar addressed the specific queries raised by the companies, offering suggestions including the inauguration of the Vadhvan port to address logistical challenges, development of Multi Modal Parks (MMLPs) to facilitate seamless logistics operations and offering regulatory support to ease the business operations, aligning with the objectives of PM Gati Shakti. Moreover, initiatives such as the transition to electric vehicles and the digitalization of documents were highlighted as areas of active focus and development by the department.

He assured them of the government’s commitment to enhance country’s trade competitiveness by addressing inefficiencies, embracing appropriate technologies, and ensuring efficient planning.

The meeting was attended by industry stakeholders from Air Liquide India, CMA CGM Agencies, Continental Carriers, Expleo Group, GEODIS India, Louis Vuitton India, Michelin India, NAOS Skin Care India, Parekh Prints, Roquette, Saint-Gobain Sekurit India, Seahorse Ship agencies, Servier India and Vernet Group.

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