India Investing In Coastal Shipping Infrastructure
In an effort to boost coastal shipping and reduce wait times, the Indian government has announced that it will set up low-cost, non-major ports along its coastline under the Sagarmala Project.
India’s ports have struggled due to a lack of berthing facilities, which often forces vessels to spend inordinate amounts of time waiting to dock. As a short-term solution, the government has endeavored to prioritize expedited berthing procedures to facilitate the faster movement of cargoes.
“Waiting time at ports in India is significant and hampers the efficiency of vessel operations,” the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement . “It is estimated that coastal vessels in India spend about 70 percent of their time in ports and only 30 percent in actual voyage. Such delays render coastal shipping uncompetitive.”.
The Sagarmala Project is a customer-oriented initiative to increase efficiency by modernizing the port system. India hopes to drive economic development by expanding and optimizing its transportation assets (such as roads, inland waterways and coastal routes) in hopes of becoming a logistics hub.
In addition to strengthening infrastructure, the project also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promoting the use of electronic channels for information exchange, leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.
Despite its 4,300-mile coastline, India’s coastal shipping sector is still in its infancy with a fleet of about 700 ships that accounts for about ten percent of the nation’s total tonnage.