E-way bill: Redefining the role of the road transporter

E-way Bill Portal

 

Road transport is the preferred mode for 60%1 of cargo movement in the Transportation & Logistics (T&L) industry. But India’s road network is congested due to poor infrastructure and slowdown in transit causes a delay in the overall supply chain.

Two regulatory requirements are impacting the logistics companies and their customers in the country.

  1. The Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) 2016 legislates that (effective April 1st 20172)
    a. Car carriers will be limited in length to 18.75 meters.
    b. Trailers – the majority of which are enclosed in India – will need to be fitted with a sliding inspection window no smaller than 400x300mm to allow verification of their cargo.
  1. The implementation of the new E-way bill under GST regime in 2018 will enable tracking of invoices generated against the actual movement of goods.

The current landscape – transit delays and tracking of the actual movement of goods to curb tax evasion – requires a review of the role of the transporter in the value chain.

E-way Bill Rules to Shift Patterns in the Logistics Landscape

A New Role for the Transporter?

Traditionally, the role of the transporter was limited to delivering goods to the destination location. With the implementation of GST, E-way bill makes the transporters play a vital role in the value chain. In this new role, the transporter is not only expected to deliver the goods to the destination but also generate E-way bills on the National Informatics Centre (NIC) portal for all consignments exceeding Rs 50,000 and for sale beyond 10 km. Intra-state transportation of goods requires generation of intra-state E-way bills. In cases where the E-way bills are generated but goods are not transported, the transporter must cancel the E-way bill within 24 hours to avoid a penalty on incorrect or fraudulent invoicing of up to Rs 25,000.

In the 14-day trial run period in February, more than 28.4 lakhs E-way billswere generated by 11,581 transporters. The government expects 50+ Lakh E-way bills to be generated on the NIC portal each day and this calls for all transporters to register on the NIC network. The generation of E-way bills not only puts pressure on the transporter to deliver the goods within the validity period to avoid penalty but also to improve the efficiency of the overall value chain. For example, for more than 1000 km the E-way bill is valid for up to 15 days. Transporters need to adapt to this new technology that is the digital bridge to the supply chain world. Getting accustomed to e-way bill rules is a necessity now.

The Role of E-way Bill Portal – A Day in the Life of a Transporter

Technology will bring transparency to the entire supply chain and change the daily operations of a transporter. There are foundational use cases for leveraging technology in implementing the E-way bill and track the movement of goods between the supplier, transporter and recipient as they flow through the supply chain.

Here are some examples which reflect a day in the life of a transporter post the E-way bill implementation notification.

Use case #1: Inspection and verification of goods – The transporter must comply with the rule that requires a minimum 400X300mm sliding inspection window to allow verification of the loads in transit. Goods will be inspected only once during a journey. If a vehicle is intercepted, stopped or detained for more than 30 minutes, the transporter needs to upload this information in Form GST INS-4 on the NIC portal.

Use case #2: Acceptance or rejection by recipient – A recipient can accept or reject an E-way bill. As per the E-way bill rules, an E-way bill is deemed accepted if there is no action by the recipient within 72 hours of the E-way bill being available on the NIC portal.

Use case #3: Multiple consignments in one vehicle – The transporter must generate an E-way bill for each consignment in one vehicle on the E-way bill portal. A consolidated E-way bill will have the serial number for each consignment in Form GST INS-2 to track all consignments at a vehicle level before the movement of goods. Individual recipients need to approve or accept each E-way bill on the NIC portal.

Use case #4: Change of mode of conveyance during transit – In case of a vehicle breakdown or change in the mode of conveyance during transit, the transporter needs to generate a new E-way bill which mentions the change in mode of conveyance. Before the transfer of goods from one conveyance to another, the transporter must submit the new Form GST INS-1.

Use case #5: E-way bill generated but goods not transported – In this case the transporter will need to cancel the E-way bill within 24 hours. Where the goods are already in transit or mode of transport is changed, the transporter cannot cancel the E-way bill.

A centralized regime – E-way Bill Portal

All the above use cases require the transporter to be connected to the NIC network. Are you ready to meet the new compliance requirement of the logistics industry and march into a digital future aided by e-way bill?

References:

  1. IMAP Industry report – Logistics India 2017
  2. https://automotivelogistics.media/
  3. http://www.businesstoday.in/