Integrating Systems: Applicability of LDB and ULIP for analytical insights

National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Limited (NICDC) and NICDC Logistics Data Services, along with the Government of India, are working towards creating platforms for providing open access to various government databases to industries. This will immensely benefit the logistics sector. The Logistics Data Bank (LDB) and the Unified Logistics Integration Platform (ULIP) provide a digitally enabled logistics ecosystem for trade. These systems will facilitate inventory management, minimal documentation, real-time information, faster movement of goods and lower inventory carrying cost, among others.

LDB project

The LDB project was conceived as one of the smart community projects between India and Japan during the initial phases of planning of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. The LDB project is an overarching solution that integrates export and import information available with various agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed information within a single window. It is based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for near-real-time tra­ck­ing, with coverage across ports, in­land container depots (ICDs), container freight stations (CFSs), toll plazas, railway stations, yards, international borders and industrial zones. The LDB system is integrated with the Indian Port Com­munity System, the Freight Op­erations Informa­tion System (FOIS) of Indian Railways, and the Terminal Operating System (TOS) of ports. It is a platform that provides analytical insights for finding the best and worst performing ports, ICDs and CFSs. It also helps in contribute to the Logistics Per­for­man­ce Index (LPI) as well as the Ease of Doing Bu­siness (EoDB) Index.

The LDB project has a coverage across 17 ports (27 terminals), more than 60 toll plazas, more than 300 CFSs, ICDs and empty yards, nine special economic zones, three integrated checkposts and at various major cargo rail rou­tes and dedicated freight corridors. It is integrated with more than 2,000 RFID readers and has handled over 53 million containers. With inputs from various stakeholders across the value chain such as port terminal operators, CFSs, ICDs and FOIS, the LDB system is able to provide many analytical insights on container information. These analytics include po­rt/CFS/ICD dwell time, port congestion analysis, port to toll plaza and toll to toll plaza speed analysis, performance benchmarking, transit time analysis and heat map analysis, among others. The reports generated with these analysis help in creating monthly, quarterly and annual reports for the concerned ministries, prescriptive analytics for individual port terminals, reports for CFSs, ICDs and plazas. It is also helping in making live dashboards and reports for public circulation.

The LDB has achieved some key milestones since its launch. It is tracking 100 per cent of India’s import and export containers. On average, around 3 million container se­ar­ches are done on the LDB portal every month. It is the only system supporting government initiatives for empty container availability and container manufacturing in India.

ULIP journey

The ULIP has been designed with the aim to enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost of logistics in India. The three major objectives of the platform include enabling paperless pro­cesses for logistics in the country by facilitating “one nation-one platform”, leveraging emerging technologies for data collection, data analysis, prediction, and standardisation and integration of data sources. It will enable logistics industry players to get access to data related to logistics activities available with systems of various ministries. Currently, 32 systems such as FASTag, LDB, ICEGATE, etc., of seven minis­tries including the Ministry of Roads, Trans­port and Highways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Water­ways, etc., are integrated through more than 100 ap­p­lication programming interfaces (APIs), en­abling over 1,600 data fields for consumption by industry players.

The ULIP has been divided into two phases. Phase I includes logistics gateway and multimodal coverage. This will help in integrating the information available with various government systems across the supply chain and in taking informed decisions, with the availability of seamless track and trace information for mul­timodal logistics. This phase of the ULIP has been completed. The second phase in­cludes unified system for document and compliance as well as encouraging public-private partnership. This phase, after implementation, will make ULIP a single-stop access to all compliance requirements, document filing, certifications and approval procedures. It will also be a gateway for data exchange between the government and the private sector.

ULIP architecture

ULIP is a virtual gateway, that works in re­quest-response mode, enabling data exchange throu­gh APIs.  For onboarding of stakeholders and defining secured data exchange modalities, it has four major segments – data classification, identity management, rights management, and trust management. Users of the platform are government agencies, start-ups, warehousing units, manufacturing units, various ports, tra­ns­porters, etc.

The ULIP has three layers integration, governance and presentation. The integration layer is the digital platform that facilitates integration services between the systems. The governance layer helps in the development of rules and laws to govern the ecosystem and ensure se­cur­ed data exchange. Lastly, the presentation layer hel­ps in developing a collaborative community of users for creating value-added services for end users of the logistics sector.