Maharashtra government plans logistics policy

The Maharashtra government will soon release a comprehensive logistics policy in a bid to develop the state as a logistics hub and promote port led development.

The government hopes that the goods and services tax (GST) regime will come handy in boosting the logistics sector considering state’s strategic and geographic location.

Currently, manufacturing, logistics and construction collectively contribute 35% to the state gross domestic product and the government hopes to increase that share till 2022.

A state industries department officer, who did not want to be named, told DNA Money, ”Manufacturing and logistics sectors will benefit a lot in Maharashtra due to GST. Therefore, the timing of the proposed logistics policy is crucial, especially when the Centre plans to rank states on their performance on logistics after considering factors such as truck stoppages, anti-competitive practices and role of intermediaries affecting exports.”

He said the proposed policy will incorporate a slew of incentives, both physical and fiscal, for the growth of logistics sector.

He said that the development of Rs 40,000 crore Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway will help establish connectivity between central India and Visakhapatnam.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, at the interactive session with investors last week, said Nagpur being a zero-mile centre under the GST regime can now become a gateway for the entry of goods and services in the state and spur logistics development.

He said about 70% cargo distribution from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, which is currently restricted to Mumbai, Thane, Pune, will be expanded to 24 districts with the construction of Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway and also with the development of supply chain through setting up of 22 agro processing centres across the state.

Sushil Jiwarajka, president, Infrastructure & Logistics Federation of India, said logistics will become a crucial factor in the growth of economy with the onset of GST. ”A far as Maharashtra is concerned, Nagpur is strategically located at the centre of India and can become a logistics hub for major companies with all India distribution. Also, the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway will create a key linkage for goods from the hinterland to the ports on the west coast.” He, however, suggested that the policy should provide fiscal incentives including tax holidays and allotment of land at reasonable rates.

K V Mahiddhar, head of CII Institute of Logistics, said states are preparing policies to incentivise logistics sector. ”States are also focusing on further strengthening transport infrastructure and connectivity, develop warehousing and cold chains to improve overall logistics. Under the GST regime, the investors, especially from the logistics sector, will make investments based on business requirements,” he said