Port Wings News Network:
Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping said that India has a huge potential and entrepreneurship for development of ports infrastructure.
He said that present Government has taken many steps including launching of Sagarmala project in a big way to develop maritime trade & infrastructure. He said that India is a vigorously trading country using major waterways with a maritime history dating back to the Lothal of Indus Valley Civilisation.
Dr Trivedi was delivering the Key Note Address at two day lead-up Conference to build up the momentum to the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on the theme of “Enhancing Port and Coastal Infrastructure: A Primer on Potential Areas” in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on 3 April.
The AIIB’s two-day Regional Conference is being organized by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in collaboration with AIIB, CII and Research and Infrastructure System (RIS) for Developing Countries.
Around 150 delegates representing different color industry, academic and research institutions are participating to deliberate up on the major bottlenecks in the quest for developing blue economy in order to achieve higher and inclusive economic growth.
Dr. Trivedi further said that the maritime heritage of the country is huge. During the last 10-15 years, the rising middle class in the country has seen large amounts of imports in the form of crude and oil, simultaneously registering growth in exports of various products including automobile. He said national waterways development render safe transportation of cargo which is also cost-effective and less cumbersome if port connectivity is networked properly. The present Union Government, he said, has taken several initiatives to develop waterways for hassle free and easy transportation across the country. He said the India has identified 107 waterways under Sagarmala Project in order to lessen the logistic stress on road/rail freight transport in the country. He observed that for investments to flow in, maritime related regulations needs to be relaxed, while ease of doing business should be promoted to facilitate the investors especially foreign investors to come with huge investments.
Speaking on the PPP projects in Port sector, he said that the Central government has initiated 70 to 80 projects under PPP mode for Costal Infrastructure Development. In Andhra Pradesh, Gangavaram and Krishnapatnam are being developed under PPP mode. He further said most of the ports in the country have huge land resources which can be utilized for the development initiatives. He also said that Visakhapatnam Port is one of the few ports in the country which have highest net-worth in terms of development.
Mr. Trivedi opined that ship repairing is one of the major businesses on which India is focusing. He observed that Bunkering and Transportation are other key areas where there’s huge potential for the development of shipping sector in the country.
Professor Amithab Kundu, Distinguished Fellow, RIS who chaired the inaugural session of the two-day conference observed that coastal infrastructure development plays a major role in development of the shipping sector in the country. He further noted that attracting larger traders as partakers in the shipping sector is a big challenge. He said the initiatives should be sustainable for development along the coastal areas of the country. He also added the development initiatives must take the people of various economic backgrounds into its fold and they cannot be left behind.
Mr. Shakil Alam, Director, Multilateral Institutions Division, Department of Economic Affairs said that AIIB is one of the sourcing handle for India’s investment needs next only to China. He said that there are five new AIIB funded projects which are underway in India with investments worth US$ 1.1 billion.
Director General, Investment Operations, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Mr. Yee Ean Pang said that the AIIB was established in 2016 with 57 founding share holders. He said the AIIB wish to change the landscape of infrastructure funding across its partner countries, laying emphasis on cross-country and cross-sectorial investments in shipping sector. He said that AIIB also focuses on mobilizing the private sector for its major participation in infrastructure development of Port and coastal areas. He opined that in shipping sector, there is a need for the private companies to step in. He said 40-45 per cent of stake in partnership is being offered to the private players. He also noted that the AIIB is co-financing with World Bank and ADB in the spread of infrastructure development activities in underdeveloped and developing countries of Asian region. Mr. Pang said that in two years time, since its beginning in 2016, the AIIB is into 24 projects across the world among which 5 projects were approved for India even though there is no project related to Blue Economy.
The panel also discussed elaborately on various port & coastal infrastructure related issues including facilitation of trade, port infrastructure and maritime regulations among others for implementation of Sagarmala project in a successful and time bound manner.