Private ports in India drawing main lines, less dependent on Sri Lanka
ECONOMYNEXT – India’s private terminal ports on the East Coast is attracting mainline calls from ships originating from China as they are freed from state controls, an official said.
"Private ports are not under government controls and we are able to be flexible on pricing," Vinita Venkatesh Director- Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal said at a shipping forum in Colombo.
She said fragmented cargo on several ports on the East Coast of India made it unviable for mainline to call.
Several ports in India East Coast had gaps of 500 to 700 kilometres between them, she said.
A large volume of Indian cargo is sent to a regional hub in Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port on feeder vessels, where main lines call often.
Venkatesh said ports in the region did not view Colombo as competition but was looking for ways to work together.
Ennarasu Karunesan, Head of Container Business at Adani ports India said private ports had boosted efficiency to 30 container moves to an hour and reduced turnaround times.
An earlier coercive, nationalist requirement for cargo to be carried on Indian flagged vessels was also not strictly enforced and only 8 percent of traffic was on Indian flags, Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping India.
Kumar said, government price regulations (Tariff Authority for Major Ports or TAMP) were only on the ‘major ports’ and non-major regional (state) ports, were now handling 45 percent of the traffic.
India’s export import cargo is still not containerised with only around 20 percent of cargo moving through containers, compared to 55 percent for China and 80 percent for developed nations, they said.
The potential for the total container volume to grow was very high.
Indian ports handled 11 million container a year, Sri Lanka about 4.9 million. Out of that 75 percent was transhipment traffic from India.
India has been growing fast after economic freedoms robbed by the coercive power of the state after independence from British rule, is gradually returned to the people over the last two and a half decades, analysts say.
After independence from British rule India’s economy was held back, and state intervention was intensified by Soviet Gosplan style 5-year plans, keeping people poor.
The country started to give freedoms back to its people from 1991 following a severe balance of payments crisis due to unprecedented peg defence and money printing or sterilized forex sales. (Colombo/Sept24/2015 – Update II)