Most Indian ports are unable to realise their full potential due to the poor rail, road connectivity with the hinterland, Chairman and Managing Director of Dredging Corporation of India D.K. Mohanty said.
There is an urgent need to take steps to improve the connectivity for the ports to prosper and the economy to grow, he said speaking here on Friday on the second day of the two-day East Coast Maritime Business Summit organised by Maritime Gateway, a trade journal.
Citing the examples of Paradip and Ennore, he explained how poor connectivity had cost the two ports dear. “Paradip port, which has celebrated Golden Jubilee recently, could achieve only 50 million tonnes in 50 years, and that too has been made possible only because of the dynamism shown by Biju Patnaik in the initial phases. Subsequently, the port has suffered badly because of poor connectivity with hinterland,” he said.
“No port can claim its own exclusive hinterland, as many non-major and private ports have come up. The monopoly of major public sector ports is broken. It is desirable, as port users will get better service. They will go to the cheapest, most user-friendly port,” he said and elaborated on the various projects taken up by the DCI in different ports of the country.
CONCOR was developing an integrated logistics park in Visakhapatnam on 100 acres of land taken on lease from the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, CONCOR Executive Director V. Kalyana Rama said. Concor had already developed 10 acres and the terminal would become operational by December.
“In the second phase, we will develop the remaining area and the logistics park would be ready in three years or so,” he said.
President of shipping (India Cements) K. Shankar, vice-president of TM International Logistics Tamal Roy, General Manager (RITES) Jatin Sarkar, and several others lamented the gross neglect of coastal shipping and inland waterways in the country.
They expressed the opinion that the two could have reduced the burden on the rail/road network and paved the way for better connectivity with hinterland for many ports in the country.
Development Commissioner of the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone S. Kishore spoke about the role of SEZs and their relation to the development of the maritime sector.