KOLKATA: In a fillip to the Government’s Coastal Shipping initiative, Ashok Leyland (ALL) recently sent a second batch of 185 trucks via the sea route to Mongla Port in Bangladesh, a growing market for the company. The company’s exports to Dhaka has gone up from 500 commercial vehicles (CVs) per year over the last many years to 5,000 per year at present. However, a senior ALL official said that cost of sending the vehicles via the sea route is slightly higher versus road transport, but of late, the company had been facing some delays at the India-Bangladesh border on land.
He said, “Border crossing was taking additional days/weeks and we had to park the trucks which cost more money. We are now working with the Government and concerned agencies on bringing down costs via the sea route.” But the official also said the advantages of the sea route include a transportation time of just two and a half days, compared with over four days to reach Bangladesh via road, less damage to the vehicles during transit and a reduction in pollution levels.
Anand V, Senior General Manager, Sales Logistics at Hyundai Motors opined that GST has complicated issues. He said, “It is still unclear as to what is the GST that needs to be charged when cars are shipped by a coastal route when the first mile and last mile operations are by road. In this form of Multi-Modal Transportation, where two modes (road/rail) are involved, the present GST law is subjective and left to interpretation of consultants.”
Nailesh Gandhi, President, Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India (AMTOI), said, “To remove the complexity, the Shipping Ministry needs to take up the issue with the GST committee and support the trade with one single GST rate on an end-to-end basis. The services of a third-party logistics service provider who provides comprehensive service needs to be facilitated by the Government. These services cannot be seen in isolation or silos and necessitates uniformity in charges to help the service provider to use a single bill for end-to-end services.”