Minister Sonowal highlights lightning-speed infrastructure development and India’s progress in port efficiency

With communication and transport at its base, the nation over the next 25 years will witness infra-development progress at lightning speed, said Sarbananda Sonowal, the minister for ports, shipping, and waterways while highlighting PM Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a developed and self-dependent country by 2047.

The minister said the visualization of projects like Bharatmala and Sagarmala has helped India progress at a fairly fast pace.

Giving a testimony of the progress made by the nation so far, the minister said that a significant improvement in port parameters such as port efficiency, productivity, and performance in the past nine years has been made.

It is to be noted, that the total cargo handling capacity in major ports has increased by 86% from 871.52 mtpa in 2014-15 to 1617 mtpa in 2022-23.

The minister said, “India ports have recorded significant improvement in turnaround time and have made a case for attracting global shipping lines to the nation with green field and brown field port up gradation plans underway.”

According to the Logistic Performance Index Report-2023 published by World Bank, India’s container turnaround time is 0.9 days which is better than Singapore’s (1 day), UAE’s (1.1 days), Germany’s (1.3 days), USA (1.5 days), Australia (1.7 days), Russia (1.8days) and South Africa (2.8 days).

The average Container dwell time of India is less than 3 days which is better than UAE and South Africa (4 Days), USA (7 Days), and Germany (10 Days.)

To further attract global vessels to the Indian ports, the minister highlighted the need to enter strategic alliances with major shipping lines. He said, encouraging shipping lines to set up their dedicated terminals in Indian ports would ensure that their vessels call at the nation’s port and bring in more cargo and business.

Moreover, increasing gateway and transshipment of cargo, minimizing turnaround time, rationalizing vessels, and cargo-related charges, along with value-added services such as bunkering, container repair, vessel inspection, and repairs can also be developed at Indian ports to encourage shipping lines to prefer Indian ports.

Sonowal also, touched upon the multiple ports that are undergoing an upliftment. He talked about the development of the Vardhavan port, which is being developed with a cargo handling capacity of over 300 mtpa.

“The deep draft port in Maharashtra will add container handling capacity of more than 23 million twenty feet equivalent units (TEUs) by 2040, and place India on the global map of top 10 container ports,” Sonowal said.

Deendayal and Paradip ports will also be developed as mega ports having cargo handling capacity of more than 300 mtpa by 2027, he informed.

Sonowal talked about the dwindling ship recycling volumes in India. He said, “While India was the leader in ship recycling a decade ago, various factors, both domestic and international have led to the dwindling volumes of ship recycling in India.” Additionally, the minister said that today we are globally in the third position. The government is keen to take remedial steps to bring back the ship recycling industry in India to the top position.

The government interventions include improving road connectivity from Alang shipyard to Trapaj village. More international partnerships, tax and customs reforms are also planned to revive the sector.

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