Port Wings News Network:
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 17 November 2021 organised the Virtual Summit on CII Port Conclave 2021 – 4th Edition with the theme focussing on “Smart Connected Ports for Trillion Dollar Economy” through Virtual Platform.
Mr Shripad Naik, Hon’ble Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India in his inaugural address highlighted that the Gatishakti master plan for infrastructural development holds the key in meeting several ambitious targets of Government of India like reaching 5 trillion economy by 2025 and increasing the exports of goods and services to 1 trillion dollar as well as improving the domestic good capital manufact output. He also said that the Maritime India vision 2030 which envisages 3 lakh crore investment that will generate employment for 20 lakh persons in India.
Mr T K Ramachandran IAS, Chairman, CII Port Conclave 2021 & Chairman, VO Chidambaranar Port Trust explained that recent developments including Covid pandemic have brought paradigm shift in the port operations mainly because of pandemic leading to push towards digitization. Post pandemic recovery has brought the spotlight on accelerating economic growth and need to improve capacity and efficiency at national gateways viz. ports. He also highlighted importance of bringing in all the stakeholders of ports and logistics sector together under one umbrella to achieve the intended aim to logistics development in the country.
Mr Sunil Paliwal, IAS, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, explained how Ports are fundamental to the India’s economy, handling up to 20% percent of the goods in National freight Ecosystem. In this context, there is an imminent need for rapid, large-scale modernization, with operations being slowed down by Infrastructure and other constraints.
During his address, Mr. Paliwal focused on various initiatives taken by Government of India and major port authorities towards adoption of various digital technologies at ports. He explained about the National logistics portal, recently championed by Government, aims to cover all the major as well as minor ports in India.
Dr M Beena IAS, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, shared her thoughts on importance of country’s maritime sector and its crucial role in its overall trade and growth. She focused on the role of Maritime India Vison, 2030 in carving out a future road map for Indian ports and shipping industry.
Briefing about Maritime India Vision, she stressed on the importance of waterways and coastal shipping sub-sectors which will propel Indian maritime sector to its next level of growth in near future. However, in order to realize this vision, India must undertake a number of initiatives including developing adequate infrastructure, improving operational efficiency through technology, strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks, enabling environment sustainability etc. She also pointed that for ports to grow, they need to diversify and be customer centred while also moving towards adoption of emerging digital technologies including Artificial intelligence and machine learning for better planning and forecasting.
Mr Karuppiah Subramaniam, President of IAPH International Association of Ports & Harbors (Malaysia) during his special address highlighted that India is one of the leading economies in the world along with being one of the major trading nations. He mentioned that India’s strength as a trading nation is evident given its recent economic growth and advancement in the field of science and technology.
Briefing about sustainability and resilient development of ports and shipping sector, he outlined key objectives that needs to be achieved by ports and shipping sector. This included, accelerated digitization, development of single platform for ports, conducive e-commerce environment, creation of digital free trade zones and use of bid data. He further explained how IAPH is playing a key role in achieving the above objectives.
Mr C Devarajan, Co Chairman, Infrastructure & Construction (Smart Cities) Task Force, CII Southern Region & Chairman & Managing Director of URC Group of Companies during his welcome address highlighted the potential of maritime trade in India along with various measures taken by Government of India for the development of ports such as tax holidays, infrastructure spending etc.
Underlining the fact that India’s vast coast line of 7517 Kms provides significant opportunity to create a world class Ports and marine transport ecosystem. He further highlighted the vital roles technology shall play in improving efficiency of Indian Ports and accelerate development of India’s trade and logistics ecosystem.
Mr Pranavant, Partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, in his address mentioned that the freight ecosystem in India is going to increase 4 times by 2050 and exports are expected to double up. This provides an enormous potential for the ports to grow in near future. Underlining the core challenges facing India’s Ports, he highlighted the need for fast tracking technology adoption and transformation towards “smart ports”; Enabling a sustainable and scalable logistics value proposition to induce modal shift towards greener modes like IWT and coastal shipping; and enabling seamless information exchange and leverage smart technologies to improving Logistics Performance.
Mr S Narasimhan, Co – Chairman, CII Port Conclave 2021 & Managing Director, Sattva Logistics in his closing remarks, explained that Indian Government plays a pivotal role in supporting the ports sector given latter’s contribution in nation’s development and meeting its economic aspirations. He explained that India needs to reduce the logistics cost from 12-13% to something about 7-8%. In order to achieve this, we need to undertake programmatic interventions during various stages of entire logistics chain while also focussing on improving port’s performance through technology adoption.