Shripad Naik, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India
With India’s coastline spreading over 7,500 km, the maritime sector has the potential to play a crucial role in driving the country’s economic growth. The Indian government has launched several initiatives to boost the maritime sector, including the Sagarmala Programme, which aims to modernise India’s ports, create new infrastructure, and enhance the coastal shipping and inland waterways transport systems.
Maritime India Vision 2030 is expected to draw investment of around Rs.1.25 lakh crores for capacity augmentation and development of world-class infrastructure at Indian ports. Around 191 port connectivity projects have been identified, after coordination with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and railways ministries, under Sagarmala which are in various stages of implementation and development. India’s strategic location makes it an important transit hub for international trade and has the potential to become a preferred destination for global shipping lines since it is well-connected to major shipping routes, and with the right investments.
The Public-private partnership (PPP) model will play an important role in the growth and development of the maritime sector and shipping industry in India. This model will help in developing a strong and well-functioning maritime transport infrastructure, which will facilitate efficient operation of Indian ports. PPP in port infrastructure has been an important source of investment in the sector and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has a pipeline of 44 projects for total investment of Rs 22,900 crore till 2024-25. The Government is working on a policy framework to deal with stressed public-private partnership (PPP) projects at major ports. The Government is also focusing on transition towards the landlord model of port operations and you can expect similar transformational changes like JNPA in other major ports also in the near future.
The Indian government is also promoting coastal shipping as a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective mode of transport. Coastal shipping can help reduce congestion on the roads and railways and bring down logistics costs. The sector has the potential to create significant employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly. In addition to promoting the growth of the maritime transport sector, the government is also focusing on developing related industries such as shipbuilding, ship repair, and marine tourism.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the maritime sector in ensuring the continuity of global trade. India’s ports have continued to operate during the pandemic, and the sector has played a crucial role in ensuring the supply of essential goods and medical equipment.