Ports Get the Boost They De­serve, At Last

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

It is wel­come that the govern­ment has drawn up a multi-year plan to mod­ernise, revamp and over­haul the port sec­tor. The fact is that we have long ne­glected in­vest­ment and in­fras­truc­ture in our so-called ma­jor ports, with the re­sult that con­tainer traf­fic needs re­ship­ping to Colombo sim­ply be­cause we lack the fa­cil­i­ties here. But in tan­dem, we need to do away with rigidi­ties in tar­iff fix­a­tion, bring the main ports un­der the purview of the Com­pa­nies Act and in­cen­tivise oper­a­tions in a busi­ness-like man­ner. The re­cent Mar­itime In­dia Sum­mit in Mum­bai gar­nered firm in­vest­ment com­mit­ments that re­port­edly add up to $12 bil­lion, with an­other $60 bil­lion po­ten­tially in the pipe­line. The game plan is to shore up In­dia’s port ca­pac­ity from 1,400 mil­lion tonnes per an­num to 3,000 MTPA by 2025, and to mo­bilise .₹ 1 lakh crore for the pur­pose. In par­al­lel, we need to ramp-up lo­gis­tics and port con­nec­tiv­ity, and line-up rail and high­way projects to re­move glar­ing in­fras­truc­tural deficits. The Sa­gar­mala project of the ship­ping min­istry does en­vis­age port-based or port-prox­i­mate in­dus­trial and man­u­fac­tur­ing en­claves and it has also iden­ti­fied 27 po­ten­tial coastal clus­ters to boost value ad­di­tion.

We need to re­visit and re­vise the tar­iff-set­ting regime for our ma­jor pub­lic sec­tor ports. Pri­vate ports fol­low flex­i­ble proac­tive tar­iff norms, which seem to greatly boost traf­fic. The norms set by the Tar­iff Au­thor­ity for Ma­jor Ports (TAMP) ap­pear down­right bu­reau­cratic with cost-plus re­turns on cap­i­tal em­ployed, var­i­ous other charges and a com­pli­cated for­mula to de­ter­mine spe­cific rates at the var­i­ous ma­jor ports as per a ‘scale of rates’. Th­ese make lit­tle sense. The Ma­jor Port Trusts Act, 1963, needs amend­ing with­out fur­ther de­lay so that the ports are man­aged un­der the Com­pa­nies Act.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.