Maritime Transport is a critical infrastructure for the social and economic development of a country. The system is a thread to the pace, structure and pattern of development. The Ministry of Shipping encompasses within its fold shipping and ports sectors which include shipbuilding and ship-repair, major ports, national waterways, and inland water transport.
The Indian coastline is outlined with 12 major ports and 187 minor ports. India ranks 16th among the maritime countries and has one of the largest merchant shipping fleet.
Around 95 per cent of India’s foreign trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is transported through sea. Major ports account for 75 per cent of the total cargo by volume handled at Indian Ports. Thereby, emphasising importance of ports, their contribution in sustaining growth and development of the Indian economy.
The traffic handled at major ports during April to July, 2011 (tentatively) recorded 193,010 tonnes as compared to April to July, 2010 registered around 184,098 tonnes.
The traffic handled at major ports is projected at 615.70 MT during 2011-12 as per National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP).
- India has joined the global cruise line club with the country's first cruise ship, AMET Majesty, registered in Chennai with an Indian flag. It will offer locations in Asia such as Anadaman, Phuket, Mumbai, Goa, Lakshadweep, Kochi, Colombo and Maldives for the tourists. Three cruise terminals at a cost of US$ 107.72 million (Rs 480 crore), are being planned at Mormugao, Mumbai and Kochi
- Adani Group-promoted Mundra Port recorded highest traffic growth to 28 per cent to 51.60 million tonnes (MT) of cargo in 2010-11, as against 40.30 MT in the previous year, according to data released by the Indian Ports Association
- State-run Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), which controls minor ports reported traffic growth of 12 per cent with 231 MT of cargo handled in 2010-11, compared with 206 MT in 2009-10
- Allcargo Global Logistics plans to build a container freight station at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) by the first quarter of 2012. The firm is further looking at acquisitions in India and overseas. The company has earmarked US$ 44.88 million (Rs 200 crore) for expansion in this fiscal, as per Adarsh Hegde, the firm’s Executive Director
- Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), in an attempt to have captive cargo handling facilities on the east coast, is working towards constructing a new port or berths, terminals or creation of any similar facility, to cope with the projected rise in its import of dry bulk cargo
- SAIL has further invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) from firms keen to provide total logistics solutions to handle the imports, covering discharge, handling and storage and finally evacuation of the materials out of the port to steel plants.
- Steel pipe maker PSL Ltd is exploring options of entering port construction business. The company has also formed a subsidiary, PSL Infrastructure and Ports, for such forays. The firm also plans to invest up to US$ 112.21 million (Rs 500 crore) in building a jetty at Kandla Port in Gujarat, through the public-private partnership (PPP) route
- Videotel Marine International has signed a ground breaking contract with APL Maritime Ltd (APL) to provide its award winning ship based training via Networked Video on Demand (NVOD) technology. The crews will be able to access courses, interactive computer based training (CBT) and videos via high quality sound, video and graphic files from multiple computers in multiple locations
- After registering a 27.66 per cent growth in container traffic during 2010-11, the New Mangalore Port is now targeting 50 per cent growth in the current fiscal. “We are targeting to handle at least 60,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers during the current fiscal,” according to P Tamilvanan, Chairman, New Mangalore Port Trust
- The Vishakhapatnam (Vizag) Port Trust will award contracts worth US$ 448.8 million (Rs 2,000 crore) in 2011-12, for mechanisation and dredging to help augment the capacity of India's second-largest port by 36 per cent. The port aims to increase its current cargo handling capacity from 63.2 MT to 86 MT by 2012-13. The port plans to take up all the developmental projects on PPP mode only
International interest in Indian Shipping Industry
The aggregate export earnings from marine products touched US$ 2.67 during April-March 2010-11, recording a growth of 10.96 per cent in terms of quantity. Furthermore, the earnings from export of marine products crossed US$ 2.5 billion in 2010-11, registering one of the highest levels, according to provisional estimates of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
The Government of India is focussing on port infrastructure development in the country and is promoting private participation and foreign direct investment (FDI). On back of the increasing growth in international trade, the cargo handled at Indian ports is projected to grow at 7.7 per cent per annum until 2013–14.
- During the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007–2012) about US$ 8.5 billion is expected to be invested in the ports sector, according to revised estimates of the Planning Commission of India.
- Foreign direct investments (FDI) flows for ports stood at US$ 1.64 billion during April 2000–May 2011, accounting for 1.2 per cent of the total FDI inflows into the country, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
- A major milestone achieved in maritime sector in the development of the country’s logistics infrastructure is India’s first International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) being built in Kochi. It envisages development of facilities for handling mother container ships of 8000+ Twenty Feet Equivalent Units (TEUs) capacities. The facilities include 1800 metres berth and supporting handling equipments for annual throughput of 3 million TEU along with supporting infrastructure.
With the implementation of this project, the need for transshipment of Indian containers through ports of other countries will be reduced substantially thereby resulting in reduced transportation cost and time to the trade.
To further enhance International cooperation and to strengthen cultural ties and also encourage trade and commerce between India and Sri Lanka a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for commencement of ferry services between Tuticorin and Colombo and between Rameswaram and Thalaimannar has been finalised and the proposal for signing of the MoU has been approved by the Government. The proposed ferry services would ensure mobility of people and increase trade, tourism and development activities.