Full steam ahead for shipping
New projects, FDI and an increase in cargo capacity point toward good tidings for the shipping industry. Publicprivate partnerships will be a major contributor to the developments.
With 13 major ports and about 200 non-major ports, India currently ranks 16th among the maritime countries. Handling over 90% of foreign trade, the ports registered cargo traffic of 911.5 million metric tonnes (MT) in 2012. During April– December 2013, Indian major ports handled 413.01 MMT of cargo. These numbers are expected to reach 1,758 MMT by 2017.
Key initiatives and investments by the GoI
The government has allowed foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 100 per cent under the automatic route for port development projects. According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, FDI worth of US$ 1,635.40 million was made towards the Indian ports between April 2000 and January 2014. Five new projects, with an investment of over 17,630 crore (US$ 2.93 billion) have been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to increase the capacity of major ports. • Maritime Agenda 2010–2020 has been initiated to outline the developmental framework for the port sector and to suggest policy-related initiatives to improve operating efficiency and competitiveness. It aims to reach a capacity of over 3,130 MT by 2020, largely through private sector participation. The capacity at the ports is targeted to increase to 2,493.10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan.
Private ports will be presented with an opportunity to serve the spilloff demand from major ports as an after-effect of growing imports and containerisation. A major chunk of the target capacity set by the Maritime Agenda 2010– 2020 is expected to be created at non-major ports.
The demand for ship repair services will increase owing to the increase in number of vessels visiting the ports.
In its 12th Five Year Plan, the Planning Commission of India expects a total investment of 180,626 crore (US$ 30.01 billion) in the ports sector.
The increasing investments and rising cargo traffic point toward a healthy future for the Indian port sector. The provision for PPP will aim to bring about balanced strategies between the Government and the private players for the development of port operations and technologies.