The ports in the east coast from Visakhapatnam to Tuticorin are working fifty
per cent of their capacity while JNPT and Mundra ports in the west coast are
overworked during the last few years. Representatives of trade and Industry
complain of lack of adequate railway infrastructure between Central India
(emerging as manufacturing base of the country) and the east coast ports. They
also talk of lack of competitive rail freight tariff to end this imbalance.
What is your take on the issue?
It is a fact that the railway infrastructure to east coast ports do not match
with the ones created for the ports in the west coast. The dedicated freight
corridor linking Mumbai with Delhi expected to be commissioned in the next two
years is going to give further fillip to the ports in the west coast
the ports in the west coast where bulk of the cargo is containerized, Sizeable
portion of the cargo handled at the east coast ports are bulk, which are
susceptible to lot of changes by the governmental policies. There is also lot
of concentration of liner trade in JNPT,Mundra, Pipava and Hazira ports in the
expect lot of infrastructure projects to come up providing better connectivity
to east coast ports in the next few years. The next five years will be trying
time for the ports in the east coast. Liner services are expected to pick up
Is the lack of adequate railway infrastructure between Central India and east
coast ports or lower freight cost offered by shipping lines to ports in the
west coast responsible for the imbalance? What needs to be done to correct the
The government should implement the promise given in the parliament a few years
ago of building a dedicated rail freight corridor between Delhi and Chennai and
Mumbai and Chennai.
of volumes of inter Asia cargo basically from China can be unloaded in east
coast ports like Chennai Krishnapatnam and Visakhapatnam. The cargo offloaded
here can reach National capital region and central India at least five days
earlier than going via JNPT or Mundra. Cargo from south East Asia, China
require at least five days additional sailing time if it had to reach JNPT than
if they are handled at Chennai port.
dedicated corridor between Chennai and Delhi linking Nagpur will go a long way
to improve the railway infrastructure for east coast ports.
Do you think cargo volumes available in east coast ports warrant a dedicated
corridor between Chennai and Delhi and Chennai and Mumbai?
The ports in the country are handling one billion tons of cargo. In the next
five years the growth is expected to be phenomenal. Additional capacity will be
required to handle the increased volume of trade. The government is building
five ports to meet the future requirement. Along with the ports rail
connectivity is also a crucial factor for movement of goods. It is a chicken
and egg story and the government should not drag its feet on providing adequate
rail connectivity to east coast ports.
GST the inventory model of the industry is also likely to change drastically.
The change will have implications for the logistics sector as well. The model
will be stock and sell and ware houses will be constructed in various parts of
the country. The E commerce will ensure that those who have stocks at various
cities alone can survive in business.
Unless you have stocks on hand, you will lose out on business.
would mean increased movement of cargo between various cities and the railways
business is bound to increase. Railways will no longer insist on return cargo
for running freight services.
Cargo from China and far eastern countries meant for central Indian cities like
Hyderabad and Nagpur are currently handled at JNPT despite the freight
advantage in East Indian ports. Imported Toor dhal from Myanmar and bound to
Nagpur for processing is also handled at west coast ports. A coastal shipping
company which organized a service to Chennai had to abandon the service since
CONCOR failed to provide service from Chennai to Nagpur. Central Indian cities
in eastern Maharashtra are emerging as manufacturing centers and are close to
east coast ports. How do you improve the railway connectivity?
from China and far eastern countries like Japan and South Korea and bound for
National capital region and Nagpur will reach their destination at least one
week earlier if they are handled in ports like Chennai and Krishnapatnam than
via JNPT as is being done now. Freight costs will be less by at least fifteen
coast ports have distinct advantage in handling cargo from China and Far East.
What geography has provided us we are unable to take advantage because of lack
of adequate rail-connectivity?
Q) Krishnapatnam port has done well in
transshipment business for the past several months. Chennai port is also
entering transshipment business in a big way soon. Singapore and Colombo ports
have been cornering the transshipment business of east coast port for several
decades. What are the measures these ports should adopt to attract more
ANS) Transhipment business for the east coast
ports is a sound business proposition. Besides the east coast ports
Krishnapatnam and Chennai could attract cargo from Bangladesh and Myanmar. Both
Bangladesh and Myanmar are closer to east coast ports compared to Singapore or
Colombo. I see a lot of scope for transshipment business and they should work
port has advantages to handling cargo form countries like Indonesia,
Will the transshipment terminals coming up at Vizhinjam and the one proposed
near Colachel help to reduce the dependence on Colombo and Singapore?
After a ten year depression the shipping industry is turning around. I expect a
lot of developments in India in the next five years. Seventy five per cent of the construction
work at Vizhinjam port is completed and it is a question of time before the
port is commissioned. With the agitations by fishermen intensifying forcing the
authorities to shift the location of the port thrice in the last two years, it
will take at least five years till the foundation stone is laid for the
Colachel port, The government has to improve infrastructure and rail
connectivity to both the proposed ports.
terminal at Cochin port is bound to stay notwithstanding the criticism about
its poor performance. The port is going to stay but the growth will be slow.