With the World Bank’s Doing Business report 2016 to be released soon, the ministries of finance and shipping are in urgent talks to improve the functioning at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), which handles over 50 per cent of India’s container trade.
The spotlight on the JNPT port is in wake of the Doing Business report of 2015, which ranked India at 126 out of 189 countries under the ‘Trading Across Borders’ component, based on the export and import taking place at the JNPT Port, Mumbai.
“The ranking by the World Bank was done on the basis of three parameters including number of documents required for export/import; time taken in the process of export/import; and cost of exporting /importing a consignment. The revenue secretary and the shipping secretary met recently to discuss the measures which need to be taken on an urgent basis,” a government official told The Indian Express.
Among the many challenges, lack of buffer yards and parking areas for containers, high parking charges, lack of e-delivery of orders and single-window clearance are the most prominent ones at JNPT.
JNPT handled 4.12 million TEUS in 2013 and handles approximately half of India’s containerised throughput. The World Bank report said that in India (Mumbai), exporting a standard container of goods requires seven documents, takes 16 days and costs $1,120. Importing the same container of goods requires 10 documents, takes 20 days and costs $1,250.
“After the meeting it has been decided to convince private container terminal – Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT) and Gateway Terminals India (GTI) – to construct new parking lots and operate them on pay and park basis. Permanent solution for reducing the congestion is construction of a flyover to the port and that will take some time. Meanwhile the JNPT has been asked to widen roads to the port within 2-3 months,” the official added.
In fact, several Japanese companies recently took up the issue of inadequate infrastructure. “The shipping lines charge exorbitantly… The ministry has urged the shipping lines to move to automated system of e-delivery orders and bring down the cost,” the official said. Currently only 9 of 34 shipping lines issue e-delivery orders.
To streamline the movement of containers, a railway line at the port and a 6-8 lane evacuation corridor is proposed at Rs 3,200 crore to be operational in 2-3 years.