Visakhapatnam: Logistics costs would drastically come down and make the industry competitive once the ongoing Sagarmala project, launched in 2015, becomes operational, the project incharge and Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Shipping, Kailash Kumar Aggarwal, has said.
Speaking at a seminar on enhancing port and coastal infrastructure, organised by the Union Ministry of Finance, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised here on Tuesday as a runup event to the AIIB annual conference being held in Mumbai during June, he noted that the present logistics cost in the country is in the range of 14 per cent to 16 per cent as against 8 to 10 per cent in other countries..
The Sagarmala is estimated to cost over Rs 8 lakh crore and as part of it, as many as 562 projects were being taken up in the country between 2015 and 2035. He said that port modernisation and capacity augmentation, port connectivity including coastal shipping and inland waterways, port-led industrialisation and development of coastal communities such as fishermen were the four main components of the Sagarmala, “At present, the capacity of the ports in the country is about 2,000 million tonnes. This will go up to 3,500 million tonnes by 2025. A total number of 112 port projects have been taken up, of which 50 have been completed and the rest are in various stages of implementation. The total estimated cost of these projects is Rs 70,000 crore,” he disclosed.
Agarwal said that 15 multi-modal logistics parks would also be established at a cost of Rs 3,553 crore, as a part of Sagarmala and this would truly transform the sector. The AIIB, the ADB and other multi-lateral development banks would have to play a key role in the project, he added.
Director-General of Investment, AIIB, Yee Ean Pang said the AIIB was ready to invest heavily in the Indian port sector and in developing the support infrastructure. However, suitable projects have to be identified and the private sector should also take a lead role in the matter, he opined.
Former secretary in the Union Ministry of Shipping, Viswapati Trivedi pointed out that a number of projects had been taken up in the Indian ports in recent years in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and although some of them had run into rough weather, most of them wre doing well despite some initial difficulties. Many projects in the Vizag port had been taken up successfully, he said.
Fellow of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) Amitabh Kundu presided over the inaugural function. Former chairman of CII (AP) GS Shiv Kumar, welcomed the gathering.