WInDS oF CHAnGES In PorT SEC­Tor

Cargo Talk - - Editorial -

the ship­ping and port sec­tor in In­dia is ex­pected to re­ceive a boost in the near fu­ture with the in­crease of pro­jected trade vol­ume. A re­viv­ing econ­omy in the ma­jor mar­kets viz USA and Europe and search for new mar­kets by In­dian ex­porters are the indi­ca­tions that the In­dian ports will have to face tough times once gain in man­ag­ing the prospec­tive growth. It is com­mend­able that the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia as well as pri­vate com­pa­nies have taken some sig­nif­i­cant moves to cre­ate ca­pac­ity at the In­dian Ports. And, launch­ing of In­ter­na­tional Trans­ship­ment Ter­mi­nal (at Val­larpadam in Kochi for in­stance) may be termed as a land­mark ini­tia­tive in this di­rec­tion.

Some re­cent re­searches re­veal that growth in long dis­tance and con­tainer­ised trade has led to the growth in es­tab­lish­ment of trans­ship­ment hubs. It is not pos­si­ble to es­tab­lish di­rect ship­ping con­nec­tions be­tween ev­ery coun­try be­cause ei­ther there may not be enough vol­ume, or the ports may be lo­cated dis­tantly from each other. There­fore, a set of di­rect or trans­ship­ment con­nec­tions are re­quired to link all coun­try pairs by mar­itime ship­ping. For this pur­pose, the trans­ship­ment ter­mi­nals and in­ter­me­di­ate hubs have been started. The emer­gence of ma­jor in­ter­me­di­ate hubs favoured a con­cen­tra­tion of large ves­sels along long-dis­tance, high ca­pac­ity routes, while smaller ports can be ser­viced with lower ca­pac­ity ships. Con­se­quently, the emer­gence of in­ter­me­di­ate hubs has per­mit­ted liner ser­vices that would oth­er­wise be eco­nom­i­cally un­fea­si­ble. The need to de­velop trans­ship­ment hub ports in In­dia was doc­u­mented by the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion in its Tenth Five Year Plan. The Val­larpadam ter­mi­nal in Kochi has been iden­ti­fied as a trans­ship­ment ter­mi­nal for the sub-con­ti­nent by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia. The ob­jec­tive of the Val­larpadam Ter­mi­nal, the first- of-its-kind in In­dia, was to cut down lo­gis­tics costs for ship­ping lines, trans­ship­ping cargo in and out of the coun­try. Cur­rently, the con­tainer­ised cargo, to and from In­dia, is trans­shipped through the ports at Colombo, Dubai, Sin­ga­pore and Salalah. How­ever, from the very be­gin­ning the ter­mi­nal was fac­ing tremen­dous chal­lenges to re­ceive big ves­sels be­cause of the ex­ist­ing Cab­o­tage Law, which dis­cour­ages coastal ship­ping, and as a con­se­quence trans­ship­ping. It is com­mend­able the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia re­cently re­laxed the law to some ex­tent, es­pe­cially for this new ter­mi­nal. The prospec­tive in­vestors for the ship­ping and port in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor are now ea­gerly wait­ing for a greater change in the mind set of the pol­icy mak­ers for the in­ter­est of the coun­try’s econ­omy.

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