Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said FY23 saw India’s major ports reach unprecedented heights, setting new records across various key performance indicators.
Speaking at the 2nd Edition of FICCI’s Port Infrastructure Conclave in New Delhi Shri Sonowal noted that major ports collectively handled a record-breaking 795 million tonnes of cargo, registering a 10.4% growth over the previous year. Furthermore, they achieved the highest-ever output per day of 17,239 tonnes, marking a 6% increase compared to last year. Another significant accomplishment was the best-ever operating ratio of 48.54%. He said the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) set a new benchmark by handling over 6 million TEUs, reflecting the highest container throughput. He said the major ports recorded their highest-ever number of vessels handled, reaching a total of 21,846 vessels in the year.
Shri Sonowal noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi the Indian shipping industry has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of ships, gross tonnage, and seafarers employed. He said the fleet of ships sailing under the Indian flag has expanded from 1,205 in 2014 to 1,526 by 2023, showcasing the country’s commitment to strengthening its maritime presence. This growth has been accompanied by a significant rise in gross tonnage, increasing from 10.3 million in 2014 to 13.7 million in 2023, reflecting the enhanced capacity and scale of operations. The Union Minister said furthermore, the number of Indian seafarers has grown from 1,17,090 in 2014 to a remarkable 2,50,071 in 2022, registering an increase of almost 114% in just nine years.
Shri Sonowal emphasised that these historic achievements underscore India’s dedication to developing and modernising its port infrastructure to boost trade and support economic growth.
The Union Minister said India’s progress in developing state-of-the-art port infrastructure and outlined future plans for the maritime sector. He pointed out, “95% of India’s trading by volume and 70% by value is done through maritime transportation. For smooth and efficient trading, most-modern and advanced port infrastructure is of paramount importance.”
Shri Sonowal emphasised the importance of incorporating technology into port operations, stating that “smart ports are the future, and we are already making significant strides towards this goal.” By leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence, India aims to optimise port operations and boost efficiency. He alluded to recent digital initiatives such as the NLP-Marine and Sagar-Setu app, geared towards bringing all stakeholders onto a single platform, reducing logistical costs and time, and improving overall efficiency. Additionally, major ports are embracing automation, with the installation of gate automation, enterprise business solutions, and container scanners, he added.
Shri Sonowal said that major ports are under development to become hydrogen hubs for handling, storage, and transportation of green hydrogen. Deendayal, Paradip, and V.O. Chidambaranar ports have already begun developing the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen bunkering, he said.
Mr Dhruv Kotak, Chairman, Ports & Shipping, FICCI Committee for Transport Infrastructure, lauded the government for its commitment to sustainability and green port initiatives. Mr Kotak noted that the Green Port Policy aims to transform the port ecosystem by focusing on emission management across scope one, scope two, and scope three emissions.
Shri Sonowal also launched the FICCI – CRISIL Knowledge Paper on ‘Smart, Safe & Sustainable Ports.’ The Knowledge Paper delves into the key elements that contribute to the creation of smart, safe, and sustainable ports. It offers a comprehensive overview of the latest technological advancements, operational best practices, and sustainability initiatives that port operators can adopt to optimize port efficiency and minimize environmental impact.
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