The baseline report of Shimla, being prepared by Development Initiatives with assistance from ICLEI South Asia under the EcoLogistics project, was presented to the officers of Municipal Corporation Shimla (MCS) on the 8th of September 2021. The meeting was chaired by Additional Commissioner, MCS, and was attended by officers and staff from the MCS as well as ICLEI South Asia.
At the meeting, the process of preparing the baseline report, the results of the analysis, freight issues, and the proposals developed for Shimla were presented. About 25% of the traffic on the city’s borders involves freight; 50% of the total freight tonnage in the city moves through Panthaghati in Shimla, and 62% of the freight movement is through traffic. As a result, Shimla’s roads suffer due to this exceptionally high traffic load. Currently, wholesale traders bring 489 tonnes of freight daily to the city, while 6790 retail traders distribute 246 tonnes of freight daily. About 5000 porters are involved in the last-mile delivery of goods in the city.
In this context, it was mentioned in the meeting that greater dependence on porters for last-mile delivery impacted the efficiency of goods movement. Establishments in the core zone were also found to have less storage space, which affected market performance and limited the distribution of goods. Freight traders changed their operations on a seasonal basis, primarily because the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) mandis were overburdened by the large number of activities taking place there. It is expected that extra storage will be required in 10 years for the trading sector, especially the wholesale sector.
Five recommendations have been made for improving the city’s freight sector: using the Lift, an elevator from Cart Road to The Mall, in non-peak periods for vertical transportation of consignments; exploring the use of e-tugs for moving loads to make deliveries in the core zone; changing the operations of the APMC mandis and expansion of existing mandis; shifting of wholesale markets; and the development of a Regional Goods Distribution Centre.
During the feedback session, the MCS’ wish to deploy e-cargo vehicles for transporting municipal solid waste and to explore the possibility of shifting wholesale markets to the city’s outskirts were highlighted. The participants agreed on the need to decongest the core commercial area, along with the development and up gradation of the freight infrastructure at the city and sub-city levels.