Legal regulation of Logistics in India


India’s logistics industry is still in its infancy, and it has a long way to go before it can compete with its international counterparts. The business is very fragmented, with issues such as poor infrastructure and transportation, complicated tax regulations, a lack of IT infrastructure, and a lack of industry preparedness.

Logistics management encompasses all aspects of the value chain, including the seamless integration of transportation, distribution, warehousing, reverse logistics, and value-added services like payment collection, packaging, documentation, customer brokerage, kitting, repair management, and reconfiguration.

Road transport is now the most popular form of transport in India, accounting for around 68 percent of all logistics operations. On Indian roadways, there are around 1.5 million trucks, and the number is steadily increasing. Railways are preferable for delivering bulk commodities over large distances since they are comparatively less expensive. Trains deliver major goods such as cement, food grains, petroleum products, iron ore, and raw materials. Few laws govern the operations of cargo and logistics in India.

The Indian laws regulating logistics can be enlisted as follows :

1.Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993

2.Carriage by Road Act, 2007

3.The Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007

4.The Railways Act, 1989

5.The (Indian) Bills of Lading Act, 1856

6.The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1925

7.The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958

8.The Marine Insurance Act, 1963

9.The Carriage by Air Act, 1972

This article describes three of these laws in brief :

Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993

The idea of multimodal transportation refers to the transfer of products from one location to another under the control of a single transport operator i.e. it is a transportation system in which a single carrier controls or owns many modes of transportation. The Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act allows the registration of a person as a multi-modal transport operator and regulates the multimodal transportation of products from any location in India to any location outside India under the terms of a multimodal transport contract. Under the act, both the consignor (the person on behalf of whom goods will be transported) and the carrier (the person in charge of transportation of goods and who is legally registered to do so) have to sign a contract.

The salient features of the Act are as under:

1.No individual may carry on or start a multimodal transportation business unless he is registered under this Act.

2.When the competent authority receives the application for registration, it must verify that the applicant meets the following requirements:

a.That the applicant is a company, firm, or proprietary concern operating in the shipping or freight forwarding industry in India or overseas, with a minimum annual revenue of fifty lakh rupees in the previous financial year or a three-year average yearly turnover of fifty lakh rupees, as verified by a Chartered Accountant under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (38 of 1949 )

b.The company’s subscribed share capital, or the total amount in the capital account of the firm’s partners, or the proprietor’s capital, is not less than fifty lakh rupees

c.That the applicant has offices, agents, or representatives in at least two other countries.

3.If satisfied, the government will register the applicant as a multimodal transport operator and provide a certificate allowing it to continue or begin its multimodal transportation business.

4.Any applicant who is not a resident of India and is not involved in the shipping industry will not be given registration until he has established a business in India.

5.A certificate issued under this act is valid for three years and may be renewed for another three years at any time.

6.A renewal application must be submitted in the form required by the Central Government, together with the fees indicated by the Central Government, provided, however, that such costs do not fall below ten thousand rupees and do not exceed twenty thousand rupees.

Carriage by Road Act, 2007

A common carrier is a person that collects, stores, forwards, or distributes commodities to be transported by goods carriages under a goods receipt or transportation for hire of goods from place to place by motorized conveyance on the road for all individuals without discrimination. A products booking business, contractor, agent, broker, or courier agency that provides door-to-door service falls under this category.

This act has been enacted to regulate common carriers by limiting their liability and requiring them to declare the value of goods delivered to them to determine their liability for loss or damage to such goods caused by the negligence or criminal acts of themselves, their servants, or agents, as well as for matters related to or incidental to such loss or damage.

The salient features of this act are as follows:

1.After the commencement of this Act, no person may participate in the business of a common carrier unless he has been issued a certificate of registration.

2.Any person engaged or intending to participate in the business of a common carrier must apply to the registering authority for the issuance or renewal of a certificate of registration for carrying on the business of a common carrier.

3.The Act requires an application to be made to the registering authority in the area where the applicant resides or has his principal place of business, stating that the application is for the main office, in the form and manner prescribed by the registering authority, and accompanied by the fees prescribed by the registering authority.

4.A certificate of registration given under this act includes the information of main office and branch offices to be run in various States and Union territories, and it is valid for ten years from the date of grant or renewal, as applicable.

The conditions of eligibility for registration are not mentioned explicitly in the act indicating that they are subject to amendment.

The Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007

The term “warehouse” refers to any property (including any protected location) where products are stored at a controlled temperature and humidity whose custody is accepted by the warehouseman from the depositor and that meets all of the authority’s criteria, including manpower. The business of managing warehouses for the storage of products and issuing negotiable warehouse receipts is referred to as the “warehousing business.” A warehouse receipt is a written or electronic acknowledgment of the deposited goods (not owned by him) given by a warehouseman or his properly authorized agent. This act serves to register all warehousemen for running a warehouse business.

The salient features of this act are:

1. No person shall begin or continue in the warehousing business unless he has acquired a registration certificate from the Authority under this Act for the warehouse or warehouses in question.

2. Furthermore, warehouses that do not intend to provide negotiable warehouse receipts will not be needed to register. The phrase “negotiable warehouse receipt” refers to a warehouse receipt in which the goods represented are deliverable to the depositor or order, the endorsee takes a good title to the goods represented, and the endorsement has the effect of transferring the goods represented.

3. The Authority may authorize any person registered under section 5 as an accreditation agency to issue a certificate of accreditation to any person to carry on the business of warehousing and issue negotiable warehouse receipts, subject to the Authority’s regulations and guidelines.

4. Any individual who wishes to start or continue the business of keeping a warehouse that issues negotiable warehouse receipts may apply to the Authority for registration of one or more warehouses that he owns or occupies.

5. The Authority may not issue a certificate of registration under this section unless it is satisfied that the warehouse in question has adequate facilities and safeguards for storing goods of the nature specified in the application and that the applicant meets the financial, managerial, and other eligibility criteria and competence as may be required.

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