India can save fuel worth Rs 3.11 lakh crore in the next three decades by deploying clean and cost-effective mode of transportation for goods, as per a report from NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).
The report stated that India can lower its logistics' cost by 4% of the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and cut down 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions till 2030 by taking these measures. Currently, logistics includes around 13% of the total costs for the companies in the country, making exports uncompetitive in comparison with China.
"Due to the rising demand for goods and services, freight transport demand is expected to grow rapidly in the future. While freight transport is essential to economic development, it is plagued by high logistics costs and contributes to rising CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, and air pollution in cities," according to the report titled "Fast Tracking Freight in India: A Roadmap for Clean and Cost-Effective Goods Transport".
It further stated that India also has the capability to "reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions by 35% and 28%, respectively, until 2050".
"India handles 4.6 billion tonnes of goods each year, amounting to a total annual cost of Rs 9.5 lakh crore (trillion)," the report noted. This comes at a time when the country is running the world's largest clean energy programme and is looking for a global leadership role in battling climate change.
As a part of the endeavour, India is working to encourage its EV (electric vehicles) programme, with the Centre giving its approval to a Rs 18,100 crore PLI (production linked incentive) scheme to manufacture lithium-ion cells, to draw investments worth Rs 45,000 crore.
"Freight transportation is a critical backbone of India's growing economy, and now more than ever, it's important to make this transport system more cost-effective, efficient, and cleaner. Efficient freight transport will also play an essential role in realising the benefits of existing government initiatives such as Make in India, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and Digital India," Sudhendu J. Sinha, Adviser (Transport and Electric Mobility), NITI Aayog said in a statement.
As India's freight activity grows five-fold by 2050 and about 400 million citizens move to cities, a whole system transformation can help uplift the freight sector, the report noted.
"This transformation will be defined by tapping into opportunities such as efficient rail-based transport, the optimisation of logistics and supply chains, and shift to electric and other clean-fuel vehicles. These solutions can help India save Rs 311 lakh crore cumulatively over the next three decades," Clay Stranger, Managing Director, RMI, said in a statement.