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FOREWORD

Ramesh Kumar is a remarkable man. He is remarkable because he climbed onboard cargo trucks to travel thousands of kilometers across India and showed us a mirror that reflects the ugly face of Inland logistics in India in no uncertain terms in his books including the latest, An Affair with Indian Highways.

In every conference on Logistics whether it is for Automotive or Cold chain or Pharmaceuticals, we hear the Shippers and LLP's singing the refrains of Professionalism in the Trucking industry in India through adding new Equipment or Training the operators.

The Indian trucking industry can be professional through these measures yet they are unable to overcome the roadblocks that exist at every state border and toll booths which slow down the movement of cargo and stop the trucks from achieving 500 km a day.

As an industry we have two choices, wait for the change to take place through government representation and committees or make it happen through private entrepreneurship.

If all stakeholders were to contribute,

1. We could upgrade the Indian Motor Vehicles Act(IMV) to remove bribes for over length, over width and overweight trailers such that if reflected the optimal length of trailers

2. We could improve Emergency response and social justice on the highways

3. We could get "decent work" for the crew.

For this we need to pay a miniscule of the amount we spend on Logistics (e.g. Rs 20 a car or INR 500 per ton of cargo) as a "Tax" towards providing emergency and legal assistance to the crew of a truck and maintaining a lobby that will help affect changes to IMV. This amount combined with small contributions from the Drivers and Truck owner will help the cargo move faster and more efficiently across India.

This small contribution will pay back the truck owner manifold through better retention of drivers and better utilization of vehicles.

And in the not too distant future, a better IMV and better Highways Unfortunately, if the industry does not right itself it will find itself constantly threatened by industrial action and strife which is a harder road to "Utopia".