The World Bank’s recently released Logistic Performance Index (LPI) Report 2023 has brought some encouraging news for India’s port and logistics sector. India has moved up from 44th in 2018 to 22nd in the global rankings in the International Shipments category. In addition, the country has achieved 38th place in the overall LPI score, an improvement from the previous 44th place.
The reason for the significantly improved performance is the significant reduction in dwell time in Indian ports, which has reached an optimal level of only around three days, compared to four days in countries such as the UAE and South Africa, seven days in the US and ten days in Germany.
In another sectoral parameter measuring operational efficiency of ports, India’s Average Transit Time (TRT) is one of the best in the world at 0.09 days, compared to 1 to 1.4 days in Belgium, Germany, UAE, Singapore and Malaysia, Ireland, Indonesia, New Zealand, etc., 1.5 days in the US, 1.7 days in Australia, 1.8 days in the Russian Federation, and 2.8 days in South Africa.
This success is the result of extensive investments in the modernization of the port and shipping infrastructure.
Cargo turnover is increased
The capacity of the 12 major ports increased from 871 million tonnes (MMT) in 2015 to 1,617 MMT in 2023, an increase of 86 percent. Likewise, the total capacity of Indian ports has increased from around 1,560 MMT in 2015 to over 2,600 MMT, leading to an increase in cargo handling capacity.
The value of operationalizing PPP projects in the major ports has also increased by nearly 150 percent, from around ₹16,000 crore in 2015 to over ₹40,000 crore in 2022-23. These PPP projects have also significantly increased operational efficiencies, adding nearly 300 MMT of additional capacity during this period, accounting for nearly 54 percent of all cargo handled in the major ports.
The use of renewable energy has increased fourteen-fold in the major ports over the past eight years, with four of them generating more renewable energy than their total energy needs.
The Sagar Setu – National Logistic Portal – Marine is a single-window digital platform for all stakeholders including freight services, trucking services, banking and financial services, as well as those associated with regulatory and participating government agencies. Together with the “Sagar Setu” app, this facilitates the smooth movement of goods and services in the ports, while significantly improving the “ease of doing business” parameters.
The Center has also implemented several key policy and legislative reforms to further strengthen the port sector through the promulgation of the Major Port Authorities Act 2021, which grants greater autonomy to major ports, thereby increasing flexibility in decision-making.
The Marine Aids to Navigation Act of 2021 ensures greater safety and efficiency in ship traffic services, training and certification on par with international standards. Similarly, the Indian Vessels Act of 2021 facilitates integrated vessel movement on our waterways, both inland and coastal, by providing consistent legislation and standardized regulations across states.
The government is also in the process of replacing the Indian Ports Act of 1908 with a more dynamic and relevant piece of legislation that reflects today’s needs.
In recent years, the government has made constant efforts to develop the ports into economic centers through a series of initiatives and policy reforms led by the Prime Minister. This global recognition for the operational efficiency of India’s ports and maritime transport sector, as mentioned in the World Bank’s LPI Report 2023, encourages the country on its way to becoming a global maritime power as envisioned in the Maritime India Vision 2030.
FROM SUDHANSH TROUSERS
The author is Secretary of the Department of Ports, Shipping and Waterways of the Government of India. The views expressed are personal