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Editorial: Onus on Shipping Ministry to Convert Ports as Harbinger of Growth

Port Wings, 14 February 2018:

With the government-controlled majors ports are back on positive stream, the Ministry of Shipping is on a mission now. The Ministry, which in crystal clear terms stated its intention, needs to go beyond these words and implement its intentions in letter and spirit in improving cargo handling at ports and ways to remove logistics bottlenecks few weeks ago. It is crystal clear that major ports are indeed the gateway of prosperity for the nation.

Eversince Mr Nitin Gadkari took over the Ministry, he announced several measures to re-invent the real strengths of major ports in making them compete each other as well as with the non-major ports located close to major ports.

Whether it was consultants to identify impediments or the experts who forecast potential of the ports, the Shipping Ministry has moved in every direction to find a long-lasting solution.

As a cascading effect, major ports has started showing good performance both in cargo handling as well as their financial positions.

Adding to it, the zeal of Government of India in promoting coastal shipping and use of inland waterways to improve productivity has infused the momentum among the major ports.

The vision of Sagarmala to reduce logistics cost for both domestic and EXIM cargo with minimal infrastructural investment is another laudable effort by the Ministry.

Once the Sagarmala and Bharatmala projects culminate, which is expected in another five years time, major ports and non-major ports in the country would be rewriting their success stories again and again.

Ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana has been approved for providing seamless connectivity of interior and backward areas and borders of the country, to develop about 35000 kilometres in Phase-I, at an estimated cost of Rs 5,35,000 crore.

Department of Commerce will be developing a National Logistics Portal as a single window online market place to link all stakeholders. It proposes to link all the seven Ministries, including Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Railways and Civil Aviation, to significantly benefit the logistics industry.

In the ports sector, Nitin Gadkari taken many bold steps, be it tariff reforms or restructuring the 11 major ports managed by Government of India or introducing revolutionary ideas for improving productivity, and all of them is now turning the tide in favour.

One by one, his vision towards the sector is turning into reality. Development of coastal shipping and inland water transport, road and rail linkages to all ports and allowing Indian fleet owners to register their ships overseas has helped the Ministry to chalk out long-term strategy.

However, successful completion of all those proposals rolled out by the Shipping Ministry in a time-bound manner would only ensure sustained growth. And to make things move on the right direction is in the hands of the Shipping Ministry.

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