Transport Corporation of India (TCI) expects custom clearances and cargo movement clearances to be available on the government's Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) in the next two-three quarters, the company’s Managing Director Vineet Agarwal told Moneycontrol.
"You need a lot of stakeholders to really come on board for that to start happening. The process has started and as more companies come on board, we should see that should become a reality. So, I would say give it a few, maybe two quarters, two-three quarters before this starts happening," Agarwal said in an interview.
He added that TCI has already tested some of the application programming interfaces (APIs) available on ULIP, set up under the National Logistics Policy.
"We have registered ourselves on ULIP and also tested some of the API's that are available. We are able to extract data right now. As and when the government operationalizes it further, we’ll be able to take the data as well and share whatever data is needed," Agarwal said.
The central government has launched the ULIP platform under the NLP, which integrates seven ministries on one platform to provide logistics companies with information about cargo movement in the country.
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The head of the largest logistics company in India added that the availability of all major stakeholders together will be a critical factor in the success of the ULIP platform going forward.
"You cannot operate without one of them not being there. Everyone has to be there on that platform. So that would be an important aspect. And I think the government will enforce it very strongly," Agarwal said.
The former president of the industry body Assocham also said that TCI is planning a capital expenditure of around Rs 200-300 crore annually to boost capacity for the next four years.
"Around Rs 100-150 crore of capex from this year will shift to next year as we had a plan of acquiring a ship, but that did not fall into place because we could not find the right ship at the right price," Agarwal said.
He added that TCI is looking to acquire a ship for around Rs 75-100 crore and spend around Rs 25-40 crore to buy containers to be used on the ship.
TCI is also looking to spend around Rs 50-75 crore as capex on building new hub centers and new facilities across India.
The supply chain and logistics solutions provider on January 30 reported a 23 percent growth in standalone profit after tax at Rs 95 crore in the quarter ended December 2022.
Despite a rise in the company's bottomline, its Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) margin had contracted on a standalone basis in the December quarter due to a fall in global freight rates.
The company's EBITDA margins on a consolidated basis saw a rise due to a Rs 19.6 crore dividend paid by its joint venture firm Transystem Logistics during the quarter.
Speaking about the Budget 2023-24, Agarwal said that provisions like coastal shipping with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for people and freight movement will further facilitate seamless cargo movement while reducing logistics costs.
As part of the National Logistics policy launched in September last year, the government integrated around 17 digital systems from the seven ministries on ULIP. The government has also integrated data from the National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation into ULIP.
ULIP will be used for inventory management, digitized document generation & exchange, track & trace, grievance redressal, risk-based import clearance, and ease of cargo movement in India.