The shipping ministry, which is finalising the draft of the Multimodal Transportation of Goods (MMTG) Bill, 2018, proposes to bring all multimodal transport operators (MTO) under self regulation, doing away with the mandatory registration and reducing intervention of the government. A second round of discussions has been held with stakeholder organisations and the final draft of the MMTG Bill is expected to be submitted to the Union Cabinet for approval in two weeks. The proposed amendments to the MMTG Act 1993 include registration of a self-regulatory organisation (SRO). The SRO could be a voluntary association or a federation of associations consisting of members involved in multimodal transportation of goods. The association needs to apply to the director general of shipping for getting registered as an SRO. Every registered SRO will have to grant a certificate of commencement of business to its members, maintain a dedicated website and online database and details of services provided by members along with their tariffs.
For MTOs, the proposed Bill provides for compulsory registration of all of them along with their benchmarking on the basis of their turnover, infrastructure and performance, to be done by the SRO. In the cases of loss, damage or delay in delivering a consignment, or even damages or losses arising from delays, the transport operator will be held liable. However, in no case, will the operator be liable for an amount greater than the liability for the total loss of goods. In case of disputes, the Bill provides for two levels for addressing grievances. The first level is within the SRO, for disputes between the operator and a consignee. The second level is with the grievance redressal cell where an aggrieved party might file an appeal in case of an unfavourable verdict at the SRO level. Functioning of the grievance redressal cell will be overseen by DG-shipping.
The proposed Bill also provides for creation of a logistics portal by the government for all stakeholders which would serve as a common digital platform for seamless, paperless and transparent business transactions, statutory documentation as well as regulation and monitoring. Currently, about 90% of MTOs are not registered, although it is mandatory to do so under the MMTG Act 1993.