Indian Ports An Incomplete Success Story

The Indian Ports Association (IPA) was constituted in 1966 under the Societies Registration Act with the primary aim of fostering growth and development of all major ports which are under the supervisory control of the Ministry of Shipping. Over the years, IPA has consolidated its activities and grown in strength. It is now considered a think tank for major Indian ports. Its ultimate goal : integrating the maritime sector. Other aims of the IPA include :

  •  To undertake and promote techno-economic studies and research into matters pertaining to planning.
  •  To offer complete solutions to port management and to create a resource of information as a tool for decision making.
  •  To efficiently promote the use of work study, management accounting strategies and other top-of -the-line tools of management to increase efficiency and productivity in ports.
  •  To bring together various national as well as international organisations involved in port and harbour operations, management and allied activities and to maintain liaison between ports, the Ministry of Shipping and other Government agencies.
  •  To promote a culture of uniformity and standardisation in port functioning.

Vision for the future
Indian ports are in a relatively healthy state but IPA is committed to moving ahead from strength to strength, setting even higher standards. There are 13 major ports in India :

  •  Mumbai Port Trust: The Mumbai Port Trust was established as a corporation in 1873. Mumbai port has long been the principal gateway to India and has played a pivotal role in the development of the national economy, trade and commerce and prosperity of Mumbai city in particular. The port has achieved this position through continuous endeavour to serve the changing needs of maritime trade.
  •  Kolkata Port Trust: Kolkata is the oldest major port inIndia. The affairs of the port were brought under the administrative control of the Government with the appointment of a Port Commission in 1870. The Kolkata port was initially conceived to promote and protect the British colonial interest. But with the advent of freedom in 1947, the port was called upon to play the opposite role to champion the national cause.
  •  Chennai Port Trust: The port was inaugurated in 1964. Strategically located and well connected with major parts of the world, it is today the hub port on the Indian subcontinent. Committed to efficiency through innovation, the port will see much growth in the years to come. Continuous modernisation, efficient services at minimum cost, simple and integrated procedures, and user-friendly approach are the main basis of the port.
  •  Kandla Port Trust: In 1952 the foundation stone for theport of Kandla was laid and it was declared as a major port in the year 1955. The Kandla Port Trust was created by law in 1963 to manage the new port. Kandla port plays a major role in the country’s international trade. Having notched up a string of successes, it has emerged as a forerunner, and has carved a niche for itself by its steady growth and economy of operations.
  •  Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust: The port was established in 1989. Jawahar Lal Nehru Port (JNP) has guided India’s international trade to a glorious course of success and achievements, breaking all records and creating new benchmarks, JNP is the biggest container handling port in India, handling around 60 per cent of the country’s containerised cargo.
  •  Ennore Port Limited: The port was declared as a major port in March 1999 and incorporated as the Ennore Port Limited (EPL) in 1999. The company has adopted the landlord concept of building the wharves by themselves and then giving them on rent or lease to a terminal operator for port development and management.
  •  Mormugao Port Trust: Mormugao Port, Goa is one of the oldest ports on the west coast of India with a fine natural harbour. The port has been playing a vital role in the economic development of the country. The Port was declared a major port in 1963. Mormugao Port, Goa is the premier iron ore exporting port of India with an annual throughput of around 50.02 million tonnes of traffic.
  •  New Mangalore Port Trust: The port was officially declared as the ninth major port in the country in 1974 and was set up in 1980. The major commodities exported through the port are iron ore concentrates and pellets, iron ore fines, granite stones, containerised cargo, etc. The major imports of the port are crude, coal, limestone, timber logs, finished fertilisers, liquid ammonia, phosphoric acid, other liquid chemicals, containerised cargo, etc.
  •  Cochin Port Trust: The Cochin Port Trust was established in 1926. Cochin is the fastest growing logistic centre emerging in to a major International trans shipment terminal. An all-weather natural port, and located strategically close to the busiest international sea routes, Cochin is promoting a major liquid terminal, bulk terminal and maritime industries in its port based Special Economic Zones.
  •  V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust: The port was established in 1974 and was known as Tuticorin earlier. V.O.Chidambaranar Port is one of the largest economic engines in the southern part of Tamilnadu and continues to be a shining star facilitating India’s economic growth. Even during the time of economic downturn, there is a continuous and steady flow of exports and imports through the port due to its efficiency, vision and market orientation.
  •  Port Blair Port Trust: The trust was declared as a major port in 2010. The Port Blair port is of strategic importance toIndia and is close to two international shipping lines of Saudi Arabia-Singapore and US-Singapore. Port Blair has territorial jurisdiction over 23 ports, including East Island Port, Diglipur Port (Port Cornwalis), Mayabunder Port, Elphinston Harbour Rangat Port, Havelock Port and Neil Island Port.
  •  Port of Visakhapatnam: The port was established in 1964.Port of Visakhapatnam is one of the leading major ports ofIndia. The port of Visakhapatnam has three harbours including outer harbour, inner harbour and the fishing harbour. This is the only port in the country which is equipped with a cavern facility for Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).
  •  Paradip Port Trust: The Paradip Port Trust was formed in 1976. The Paradip port is one of the major ports ofIndia serving the eastern and central parts of the country. Its hinterland extends to the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The port mainly deals with bulk cargo apart from other cargoes. There is unprecedented growth in the traffic handled at this port in the last decade.

Problems and challenges
The Indian Ports Association has been doing a good job, but several problems and challenges remain. For example, lack of modern equipment at Indian ports has led to operational problems. The container terminal capacity at Indian ports also leaves much to be desired. With the increase in trade, Indian ports have not been able to capitalise on the potential growth factors as the capacity at the terminal ports is not sufficient and this is a big concern. The productivity of the ports is another problem. Indian ports are nowhere near international standards in terms of productivity. This is partly because the labour force is not educated and thus handling big or sophisticated machinery becomes difficult for them. Lack of coordination in the logistics chain is another area of concern. This makes it difficult for the ports to be filled with materials at the right time. With the lack of coordination there is a delay and it hampers the trade. The of unavailability of night navigation facilities (only Mumbai and Chennai have this facility) is yet another problem which hampers the round the clock business schedule.


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