India is the world's second-most populous country and its fastest-growing major economy. Nonetheless, even with the World Bank predicting a growth rate of 7.3 percent this year, the country faces major challenges. A creaking infrastructure, including clogged roads and a painfully slow rail freight network, alongside one of the world's highest freight tariffs, have been a drag on businesses.
Ambitious plans are now underway, however, to bolster the infrastructure, which could slash transportation costs and enable the speedier movement of goods. The plans include multimodal logistics parks (MMLPs), a program to build highways and ports, as well as the full utilization of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The MMLPs are aimed at providing modern warehousing, freight aggregation and distribution, customs clearances, value-added services such as labeling, and faster links to different modes of transport.
Last July Nitin Gadkari, India's minister for road transport and highways, announced the government aimed to develop 35 large MMLPs.