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India much behind China in containerised cargo capacity
Dec '17
India’s total containerised cargo capacity of 8.75 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at its 12 major ports is less than a quarter of the 36.5 million TEUs containerised goods handled at the Shanghai port, making it imperative for India to pay attention to this gap, says a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The total containerised cargo capacity is a key indicator of a country’s integration with global supply chain for value-added manufactured goods.

The study titled ‘Indian ports sector: challenges of scale and efficient operations,’ was released recently by ASSOCHAM secretary general DS Rawat and chief advisor Arvind Kumar in Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha state.

China has four ports — Shanghai, Shenzhen, Ningbo & Zhoushan and Hong Kong China — that handle more than 20 million TEUs.

Even on the parameter of overall cargo, both with or without containerisation, India has a fragmented capacity at different ports. In China, there are six cargo ports which can handle over 500 million tonnes cargo per annum and it has another eight ports which handle cargo more than 100 million tonnes up to 500 million tonnes, said an ASSOCHAM press release citing the study.

“The port scaling in China is not only ahead of us, but it over-awes even the major countries. Of the world’s top 20 ports, 14 are in China. No Indian port figures in the world’s top 20,” Rawat said.

“In contrast, India has just two ports which handle beyond 100 MT – Kandla and Mundra....Large productivity gains can be achieved by improving existing ports at a much lower marginal cost,” the study noted.

Though India’s ports have handled the rapidly expanding traffic, handling more than a billion tonne of cargo in 2016-17 and the capacity is expected to increase to 2.5 billion tonnes by 2025, the freight mainly comprises POL (petrol, oil, and lubricant), coal, iron ore and other commodities.

It is only recently that freight in containers, which are easy to load, unload and can be carried to the hinterland through multi-modal transport, is catching up in India. The ASSOCHAM report said that use of containers is imperative to promote multi modal transportation.

The study suggested that it would be appropriate to augment capacity of existing ports to create ports with large capacity of 100 MT rather than creating new ports and spreading resources thinly.

It also recommended the need for India to revisit the Major Ports Trusts Act, 1963 to modernise the institutional structure of major ports and to secure greater operational freedom for ports, matching with present requirements. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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