Importance of Indian Port
- The Indian port sector plays a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce.
- It also has an important role in fulfilling India’s dream of achieving greater global engagement and integration with its trading partners.
- Much of India’s port-led development initiative is expected to revolve around growth in maritime trade, given its share in terms of both volume and value in the country’s overall trade statistics.
Initiatives taken by Government to strengthen this sector
- Development of new ports
- Modernisation and mechanisation of the existing ports,
- Reduction of logistics costs through the implementation of increased waterways transport.
- These are also in line with the vision of initiatives such as ‘Make in India’.
Issues faced by various ports
- Seaports displayed specific patterns of issues based on differences in geography, infrastructural capacity, operational aspects, contractual arrangements, and so on.
- Haldia Port, West Bengal, being a riverine port, faces the natural challenge of heavy siltation and inadequate dredging capacities.
- In Paradip Port, Odisha, there is issue of semi-mechanisation and manual handling of critical processes having a cascading effect on overall operational efficiency. It highlights the importance of complete mechanisation of processes to ensure seamless operations and thereby lower down vessel turnaround time.
- Congestion at the approach roads is a common problem observed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Maharashtra.
- Underutilisation of physical infrastructure in particular though is extremely prevalent at another private terminal — the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal — at the Cochin Port.
Bolstering prospective ventures
As India eyes a resurgence in port-led activities in the country, these issues, though specific to certain ports, indicate the need for the Central government to undertake measures to facilitate trade through Indian ports, either in terms of building and maintaining infrastructure for handling desired capacities or undertaking relevant policy and regulatory reforms.
- It is important to maintain draft to serve bigger vessels
- Ensure mechanisation of ports through introduction of new equipment and procedures
- Build new facilities
- Upgrade existing facilities
- Automate systems/procedures.
For policy and regulatory reforms
- It is important to streamline tariff determination by TAMP along with a provision for periodic revisions
- Ensure transparent and effective contractual arrangements in PPPs
- Implement strengthened communication platforms for seamless information flow among stakeholders
- Strengthen system integration
- Ensure paperless clearance of procedures and transactions
- Develop user information portals
- Apart from reviving the ports currently operational, these measures, if duly incorporated, promise to sufficiently bolster prospective ventures as the country moves towards an optimistic maritime trade regime.