Improve port connectivity with rail and roads

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
The growth of ports should be planned in a futuristic way reflecting projections for traffic rather than existing needs. The Survey calls for exploring port connectivity through rail and road and international benchmarking on performance parameters and price.

While the port sector has seen sharp improvements in efficiency parameters through new kinds of contracting, more work needs to be done in crafting an adequate policy framework, it said. The pre-berthing time at major ports dropped from 6.9 hours in 2002-03 to 4.9 hours in 2003-04. However, the wide variation between pre-berthing and turnaround times and decline in the performance of JNPT continue to be worrisome.

The central focus must remain maximisation of intra- and inter-port competition. An increasing shift towards a model where the port is a landlord and multiple operates compete within it, may be the way forward, the Survey added.

During April-December 2004, cargo handling grew 11% to 276 million tonnes as against 248.9 mt in the same period the previous year. Container traffic saw a 15% CAGR for the last five years.

However, there is a considerable lag when compared to international ports with JNPT handling only 2.3 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) against 20.1 million TEUs of Hong Kong port, the largest in the world.

Good Portent
Focus in maximising intra- and inter-port competition
Average pre-berthing time down to 4.9 hours, turnaround time to 3.5 days
Reforms will see investments further increasing
The Survey said that investments in the sector, which are taking place substantially, will be further spurred by institutional reforms in the coming years. In the recent period, 13 private or captive projects with an annual capacity addition of about 47.4 mmt at Rs 2,597 crore have been completed, while 23 others with an annual capacity addition of 89.29 mmt at an investment of Rs 7,108 crore are at various stages of implementation.

There should be an expansion of transportation by ships to include inland water transport, which accounts for only 0.15% of domestic traffic at present, it added.