Logistics & Transport


In modern economy, logistics is a key component. Logistics is regarded as overall organization, movement, storage and distribution of material/goods and also people. In today’s transforming economies, logistics is to provide a complete solution including transportation. Therefore, transportation is the essential segment in overall logistics solution.

Transport and logistics costs most often pose a barrier at least as large, and frequently larger, than tariffs. In fact, trade is affected more by the cost of transport than by the tariffs. A 2008 WTO report, Trade in a Globalising World, explains that spending on shipping for world imports in 2004 was three times higher than spending on tariffs.

The Institute has been playing vital role in imparting knowledge and practices through research and advocacy in this area



One of the major weaknesses of transport infrastructure in our country has been the mismatch at the interfaces of the various modes. As a result, the system, despite upgradation in some segments, continues to operate at sub-optimal levels. For example, while size of the container ships has substantially increased, corresponding facilities for evacuation of the containers from the ports have not kept pace. It is, therefore, essential to plan in an integrated manner across the entire movement chain.


A recent development in the transport sector has been that of extending traditional service boundaries. For example, railways are combining with the port terminals to establish a unified movement chain. Ocean carriers are integrating into ports, inland terminals and landside transport links. At the same time, multimodal operators are increasingly integrating into the reverse of this chain. This vertical integration may lead to emergence of monopolies which are inherently inefficient. A regulatory oversight is therefore called for.

The logistics costs in India are estimated to account for 12-13% of GDP. In the United States, these costs vary between 8.5% to 9% of GDP. A reduction in logistics costs by one per cent would yield an annual saving of $5 billion for Indian economy. If the logistics costs are brought down to the levels that prevail in the United States, this would result in about 4 per cent reduction in prices of Indian goods making them more competitive globally. At the same time, this reduction in costs would mean large reduction in inventories, and consequently in working capital.

Research Studies:                 1.Intermodal Logistics: Unlocking Value
2. Establishment of Transshipment hub
Journal: 1.International Trade in Transport Services
NTDPC : Integrated Transport: Strategy and Logistics






Railways are a tool for development, equity and integration of all parts to the mainstream. Railways are considered critical not only from the standpoint of connecting remote regions and providing affordable transportation services (especially passenger services) but also from the perspective of defence movements, (which cannot be passed on to the private sector) and meeting the transportation requirement in emergencies. This is widely regarded as a socially and environmentally benign mode of transport.


Research Studies

1. Intermodal Logistics: Unlocking Value
2. Establishment of a Transshipment Hub
3. Environmental and Social Sustainability of Transport - Comparative Study of Rail and Road
4. Production Units in Indian Railways
5. Leasing for Transport Sector 6. Transport-Energy Nexus: Towards Sustainability
7. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
8. Kalka-Shimla Railway


1. Rail Terminal Facilities
2. Public Private Partnerships in Railways
3. High Speed Rail
4. Heavy Haul Operations in Railways


1. Infrastructure Financing: Current Status and Future Options 2. Greying of Indian Railways                                                                            

Road Transport

Benefits of road transport and road infrastructure is widely acknowledged. It provides door to door connectivity and plays critical role in facilitating movement of both passenger and cargo. Over the years, road transport became the dominant mode of transport in the world. However, road transport should not be looked at in isolation, but as part of an integrated multimodal system of transport. Road Transport is a critical infrastructure for economic development of a country. It influences the pace, structure and pattern of development.


Research Studies

1. Socio-economic Impact of 4-laning of National Highway on Rural Population – Phase  II
2. Intermodal Logistics: Unlocking Value
3. Establishment of a Transshipment Hub
4. Optimization of Axle Loads of Commercial Vehicles
5. Socio-economic Impact of 4-laning of National Highway on Rural Population – Phase I
6. Environmental and Social Sustainability of Transport - Comparative Study of Rail and Road
7. Trucking Operations in India – Problems & Potential
8. Leasing for Transport Sector
9. Transport-Energy Nexus: Towards Sustainability
10. Non-Motorised Transport in India: Current Status and Policy Issues


1. Traffic Calming
2. Urban Transport
3. Indian Trucking


1. Infrastructure Financing: Current Status and Future Options

Civil Aviation

Air transport is an important mode of transport enabling international and domestic mobility of both people and goods. This mode is regarded as an enabler to achieving higher economic growth. The sector however, has high externalities. Therefore, sustainable pricing is an important element of the sector.


Research Studies

1. Privatisation of Aviation Infrastructure
2. International Aviation and Outer Space Law and Relations: Reflections on Future Trends


1. Pricing and Charges in Civil Aviation
2. Infrastructure Financing: Current Status and Future Options

Shipping and Inland Navigation

Since ancient times, water transport has played a major role in transport of men and material. The sector is the most environment friendly modes of transport. Shipping includes international and coastal shipping.  In view of cost effectiveness of the mode, it has been examined that inland navigation and coastal shipping needs revival for supplementing rail and road transport. In overall sustainable development of transport, water transport has critical role to play.


Research Studies

1. Establishment of a Transshipment Hub
2. Indian Shipping Industry: Critical Issues in Global Context


1. Infrastructure Financing: Current Status and Future Options


Multimodal Transport


Intermodal transport is the combination of at least two modes of transport in a single transport chain, ideally without a change of container for goods. With the multiplicity of modes, the cooperation and participation of several agents is required. Historically, the coastal regions have benefited the most from economic growth and prosperity.

  The development levels invariably decline in areas further away from the coastline. Inadequate connections often make inland locations less competitive. Development of integrated transport networks would provide improved access to inland areas and spread the benefits of economic growth. Development of growth centres away from the coastal areas is equally essential. Establishing dry ports in inland locations can stimulate this process. These ports would create the opportunity for the same economic stimulus seen at seaports. They would allow shippers to undertake consolidation and distribution activities as well as complete export/import procedures at inland locations that are at relatively short distances from farms and factories.


Urban Transport


Most cities in Asian countries are experiencing multi-faceted problems as a result of rapid urbanization and rise in urban population. This also resulted in increase in demand for mobility. In addition, a noticeable and alarming feature, which ubiquitous throughout the urban centres in Asia, is increasing ownership of private vehicles.

  Private vehicles on roads in cities results in congestion, emission and accidents, etc. Urban transport planning, therefore, becomes challenging task for planners and policy makers. The existences of fragile public transport and under progress mass rapid transit systems suggest creative and sustainable solutions.

Research Studies:                 Intermodal Logistics: Unlocking Value
NTDPC : Integrated Transport: Strategy and Logistics