- Ambati Janardhana Rao, Managing Director, Indian Ports Association
What are the reasons for the diversion of cargo from the major ports to the non-major ports?
As such there is no diversion of cargo from the major ports to the non-major ports. As far as the traffic at major ports is concerned, there is consistent traffic flow and is largely on the increasing trend. However, non-major ports are also attracting cargo due to being captive ports and having no regulatory mechanism like TAMP, etc.
The government has allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment under the automatic route for port development projects. Has this helped the investor sentiment?
Yes it has helped the private players in major ports and that is why more than 36 PPP projects have been successfully launched and are operational at major ports and most of the larger projects are undertaken by international operators like PSA, DP World, AP Muller, etc.
Will ´Make in India´ drive the sector´s growth?
The Make in India drive will definitely boost the port sector and once such initiative takes proper shape, the manufactured goods under such drive will be transported through ports for which huge capacity requirement is to be envisaged. However, it will take some time to get streamlined to derive ultimate results.
What will be the impact of the Sagarmala Project on the ports sector?
The government´s ambitious Sagarmala Project, which aims to develop port infrastructure along the country´s 7,500 km coastline, is likely to see an investment of more than Rs.70,000 crore in coming years. The project includes port led development, modernisation of our ports and islands, setting up of coastal economic zones, and identification of potential locations for new major ports and fishing harbours. All such initiatives will drive the port sector towards positive growth.
How far is the public private partnership model viable in the ports sector?
As mentioned above this model has already been in practice at major ports and so far it has been greatly successful as more than 36 PPP projects are already operational and similar number of projects are under implementation/ in process of construction.
What opportunities do you see for the sector, with the government´s focus on port-led development?
Ports of India, particularly major ports, are contributing to the country´s EXIM trade for decades by way of providing maritime logistics and moving ahead by transforming into most modernised ports with facilities comparable to world class standards. Major ports are also taking lead by developing through shelf of projects with the right mix of public investment and private sector participation to build capacities to cope up with the demand of the trade. Massive mechanisation, increase in draft to accommodate larger ships, seamless connectivity, port-led hinterland development, more innovations, improved port performance, modern port management, etc., are the opportunities and government is focussing on these aspects to achieve overall goal of port-led development.