Minister Sonowal highlights rapid infrastructure development and India’s progress in port efficiency

With communications and transport as the foundation, the country will see lightning-fast strides in infrastructure development over the next 25 years, said Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, while highlighting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of India becoming a developed and developed country to become an independent country by 2047.

The minister said the visualization of projects like Bharatmala and Sagarmala has helped India move forward relatively quickly.

Appreciating the country’s progress so far, the minister said that over the past nine years there has been a significant improvement in port parameters such as port efficiency, productivity and performance.

It should be noted that the total cargo handling capacity in the major ports increased by 86% from 871.52 million tons per year in 2014-2015 to 1617 million tons per year in 2022-23.

The minister said: “India’s ports have seen a significant improvement in turnaround times and are committed to attracting global shipping lines to the country with plans underway to expand green-field and brown-field ports.”

According to the Logistic Performance Index Report-2023 published by the World Bank, the container transit time in India is 0.9 days, better than Singapore (1 day), UAE (1.1 days), Germany (1, 3 days), the USA (1.5 days) and Australia (1.7 days), Russia (1.8 days) and South Africa (2.8 days).

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

In order to continue to attract international ships to Indian ports, the minister stressed the need to form strategic alliances with major shipping companies. He said encouraging shipping companies to set up their own terminals in Indian ports would ensure their ships call at the country’s port and attract more cargo and business.

In addition, increasing cargo throughput and handling, minimizing turnaround time, streamlining ships and cargo-related fees, and value-added services such as bunkering, container repair, ship inspection and repairs can also be developed in Indian ports to promote shipping lines prefer Indian ports .

Sonowal also went into the numerous ports that are experiencing an upswing. He spoke about the development of Vardhavan port which is being developed with a cargo handling capacity of over 300 mtpa.

“The Maharashtra deep sea port will add container handling capacity of more than 23 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) by 2040 and put India on the world map of top 10 container ports,” Sonowal said.

The ports of Deendayal and Paradip will also be developed into megaports with a cargo handling capacity of more than 300 tons per year by 2027, he said.

Sonowal spoke about the declining ship recycling volumes in India. He said: “While India was the leader in ship recycling a decade ago, various national and international factors have led to ship recycling in India declining.” Furthermore, the minister said that today we are third in the world. The government is keen to take remedial action to bring the ship recycling industry back to the top in India.

Government measures include improving the road connection from Alang shipyard to the village of Trapaj. Other international partnerships and tax and tariff reforms are also planned to revitalize the sector.

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