Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday stressed the need to integrate different modes of transport and said 34 MoUs worth over Rs 2 lakh crore were signed at a transport and logistics summit here.
Speaking at the end of the three-day event, Gadkari said there was an urgent need to bring down logistics cost in the country to globally comparable rates to achieve double-digit growth figures and ensure welfare of the weakest sections.
He said while logistics cost in China was 8-10 per cent, in India it was as high as 18 per cent.
Gadkari said there was a need to connect different modes of transport. He said while it was feasible to reach some places comfortably through road, others were more accessible by railways, waterways or airways.
"So it is important for the nation to integrate all these" so that any of those modes – or a combination of them – could be used to effectively transport goods and passengers with minimal logistics cost, Gadkari said.
He said 34 MoUs were signed in different sectors including for port connectivity, development of multi-modal logistics parks, dredging of inland waterways, development of port roads and connectivity to airports.
The minister said even states from the northeast had come forward to sign MoUs and this would be instrumental for their development.
Gadkari announced that work on 10 waterways would start this year while there were also plans to construct access-controlled expressways from Delhi to Jaipur and Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Imagine where it takes 12 hours to reach from Delhi to Katra, it would only take around four-and-a-half hours. The whole economics would change."
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said multi-modal integrated transport and logistics would benefit Rajasthan to a great extent.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the state had a lot of potential to contribute to the growth of warehousing and supply chain logistics.
He said Haryana was already working to enhance and modernise its transport and warehousing network.
The India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit from May 3 to 5 was attended by around 3,000 delegates from India and abroad including international organisations like World Bank and Asian Development Bank.