Making freight transport in India more climate-friendly

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India’s freight transport ecosystem has a crucial part to play in reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the IKI supports this approach. 

In India, 4.6 billion tonnes of goods are handled every year, resulting in total annual costs of 107 billion Euros. Most of these goods are transported by diesel trucks, and estimates suggest that the national freight transport volume is set to increase about fivefold by 2050. 

Reducing the carbon footprint of the logistic sectors

The IKI project Green Freight aims to make India’s freight and logistics sector more climate friendly and efficient. Since its commencement in 2019, the project has identified strategies and practices to enhance efficiencies and reduce the carbon footprint of India’s logistics sector.

The key recommendations include

  • comprehensive multimodal transport infrastructure planning and development,
  • standardisation of the multimodal infrastructure and warehousing assets and
  • preparation of City Logistics Plans under the framework of the National Logistics Policy launched on 17th September 2022. 

To advance standardisation in physical assets, an E-Handbook on Warehousing Standards was developed after in-depth consultations and feedback from relevant public agencies, as well as private stakeholders and industry associations. The handbook defines best practices in warehouse construction, maintenance, palletisation, racking, material handling, transportation and product specific standards as well as trends in warehouse automation and AI technologies. 

Saving energy and money in the cold chain 

In order to maximise energy efficiency and optimise time and cost in India’s cold chain networks, the Cold Chain Resource Centre was established in India in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Logistics Protocols have been developed for shipment of fruits and vegetables and frozen foods and technical design standards for cold chain infrastructure such as cold rooms, reefer vehicles and ripening chambers. These are widely disseminated to member companies active in these trades through CII’s state chapters. 

Intermodal transport solutions 

Several activities were also taken up to promote intermodal transport solutions and develop such infrastructure in India. Firstly, a pre-feasibility study was conducted. This identified three potential RORO rail corridors for modal shift to rail from road in India. The results and study were then disseminated through a workshop with the Ministry of Railways, along with the private companies in this sector that are interested in the implementation. 

Secondly, the project showcased best practices from Europe in integrated freight transport infrastructure planning (TEN-T networks and Germany’s Freight Transport & Logistics Master Plan) through a study and two study tours for relevant partner officials in Brussels and Germany. The aim of these visits was to support the Indian government’s development of the Gati Shakti National Master Plan (a GIS based digital platform of India’s Infrastructure) (NMP) for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of multimodal transport infrastructure connectivity projects. 

Lastly, a Multi Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) guideline was developed to harmonise implementation of 35 MMLPs across India. Currently, the project is facilitating the development of India’s National Logistics Infrastructure Plan under India’s Gati Shakti NMP framework by providing specialist international expertise. 

Providing Freight Smart Cities workshops 

At the city scale, one Freight Smart Cities workshop and six regional workshops were organised through the partner ministry to sensitise all Indian states about the purpose and benefits of preparing and implementing City Logistics Plans (CLPs). 

Model CLPs in Delhi and Bengaluru have been prepared using smart data collection and analytics. The innovative approaches and lessons learned from these models will be used to further develop CLP Guidelines. An executive training programme for capacity building of 200 city and state officials in the planning and implementation of city logistics measures is under development.  

Online tool for measuring GHG emissions 

A simple and easy to use online Freight GHG Calculator digital tool was developed to measure and compare GHG emissions between various modes for a fixed Origin-Destination pair. It aims to create awareness and induce behavioural change amongst its users (shipper, transporters and logistics service providers) by allowing them to make informed decisions based on environmental cost estimates.  

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Multimodality and intermodality are central strategies for making transport more compatible with cities. 

Multimodal transport means the use of different means of transport for different journeys. Intermodal transport, on the other hand, focuses on a route for which different means of transport are combined in such a way that an optimal solution is achieved from an individual perspective. 

(Source: Deutsches Institut für Urbanisitik