Owing to its strategic location close to the Trans-Pacific and Europe Far East liner shipping routes and the intra-Asia North-South trade lanes, India has come up as one of the most advantageous locations for almost all global shipping lines, which have through their presence in the Indian subcontinent, cashed in on the booming south-east Asian market.
The government of India has in order to promote the growth of the Indian shipping industry, promoted and developed several shipbuilding and repair yards.
Speaking of the importance of ocean shipping as a major freight career and responsible for most of the export-import load, it is very important to make the overall experience and services smooth, efficient and cost-effective. To do so we need to ensure smooth port/CFS/ICD operations and infrastructure. Further, as shipping by the ocean is not just the ocean freight but also the same includes various other transport modes Railways/ Trucks to ensure a smooth and timely cargo movement. So it is very important to have Good transport services and for them to run efficiently, have great Highways.
Looking at the requirements to make ocean shipping a great efficient service we could divide the needed improvements into three major categories:
Port Infrastructure, Equipment, and ease of doing business.
Overall all infrastructure of Highways/railway lines waterways leading to the Ports
The infrastructure of CFS/ICD
Improvement of the above three would always ensure a speedy and efficient last mile delivery for all Imports and Exports of cargo. The aim is to reduce the dwell time of the shipment after arrival at the port and up to the final delivery to end customer.
The main hurdles which are presently holding us back and need improvements have been mentioned below:
Lack of infrastructure – Infrastructure involves electricity, road network, and overall area development, which complement the use of coastal shipping routes.
Lack of port modernization with the latest equipment – India’s ports need to significantly ramp up their capacity and efficiency to meet the surging demand.
The slow and cumbersome process at Customs – Companies are looking for improvement in custom processing at ports to simplify for ease of doing business. The old and tedious custom processes need to be replaced by new smooth, efficient and digital processes.
Congestion at Seaports – Capacity utilization in some of the major ports remains as low as 58-60% as against the expected rapid growth of both bulk and containerized traffic on the other side the major port of India Viz. Nhava Sheva in peak season due to heavy cargo volume leads to congestion.
As suggested above, with 13 major seaports along the 7,517-km long coastline, the issues and concerns in the Indian shipping industry and the ports can be divided into two major categories Infrastructural and Operational. The government of India is under the scheduled efforts, working under a public-private partnership programme to improve dwell time in order to enhance the capacity of existing port infrastructure and reduce overall costs, while at the same time also trying to organize efficient operations and information exchange. Automation is one important aspect in which lots of work is being done.
India’s roads are congested and of poor quality, new highways are being planned and are under construction. The railways, including the country’s high-density rail corridors, on the other hand, are facing severe capacity constraints. Also, freight transportation costs by rail are much higher than in most countries as freight tariffs in India have been kept high for subsidized passenger traffic. Further, under a new project name Sagarmala, waterways are being planned which will reduce the freight cost and transit time drastically.
Littoral shipping is without a doubt one of the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly and more favored mode of cargo transport in developed countries. Unfortunately, despite its extensive reach and popularity in other nations, the Indian subcontinent is yet to reconnoiter its coastal shipping’s true aptitude. Looks with various measures by the government of India we are entering the new phase wherein under public-private partnership program the state of affairs is going to improve. The future looks bright with growth in the business for ocean freight along with better-enhanced infrastructure and fast-automated operational services.