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Neeraj Bansal "A Man With A Mission"

With the year coming to an end, it is important to acknowledge the impressive performance of the Indian Port Sector in the year gone by. Under the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala, six new mega ports will be developed in the country. The performance of the Shipping and Ports sector significantly affects the economic health of the country. During FY18, cargo traffic at major ports in the country was reported at 679.36 million tonnes (MT). In April-August 2018, traffic at major ports increased 5.13 per cent year-on-year to 288.38 million tonnes. The major ports had a capacity of 1,452 million tonnes by FY18 end.

The Government has taken consistent steps and implemented numerous initiatives to achieve this. Mr. Neeraj Bansal, acting Chairman of Government-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), has been a driving force behind the initiatives taken and the aforementioned growth achieved by the Indian Port Industry. He belongs to the Indian Revenue Service 1994-Batch and has worked in Income Tax Department across the country. 

According to the Rotary Club, in its citation, “Shri Bansal has spearheaded the innovative efforts in JNPT in enhancing the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiatives and his leadership has resulted in JNPT achieving global benchmarks in productivity and ease of business in a short span of three years.” He was felicitated, along with other prominent personalities for their contribution in Public Service by the Rotary Club of Bombay Central this year. He was also honored with ‘Indian Maritime Port Personality of the Year’ award for his significant contribution to JNPT for making the organization customer-driven and achieving significant growth on a year-on-year basis.

JNPT has been bestowed with “Container Port of the Year” at the Gateway Awards 2018 for the improvement in operational flow, performance efficiency achieved in the financial year 2018. Following are some of the essential and noteworthy initiatives taken this year:

  • Direct Port Delivery (DPD)- JNPT has introduced Direct Port Delivery (DPD) and transport solution under which cargo that lands at JNPT will be transported within 48 hours as against the earlier 7-8 days through CFSs. The new system will lead to decongestion of port and bring in efficiency in port operations.
  • Addition of the 4th terminal- With the addition of the 4th terminal and capacity addition, JNPT is capable of handling up to 7.5 million TEUs and the total capacity will go up to 10 million TEUs by 2022.
  • Dry Ports- JNPT is setting up four dry ports – Jalna, Wardha, Sangli and Nashik – with a view to facilitate faster movement of cargo from the hinterland to the port. The dry ports will increase the supply of cargo to the port as its capacity gets expanded in the coming years.
  • Special economic zone (SEZ)- JNPT is setting up an SEZ on 277 hectares of land. A huge amount of money is spent on logistics. Having industries close to ports can save a lot on logistic costs. Ports create huge value for industries, especially when JNPT is concerned. JNPT is the busiest port and can connect to every nook and corner of the world. The SEZ will bring industries closer to the port area and that takes care of the last-mile connectivity issues. It will also create direct and indirect employment for more than 0.12 million people, thus benefiting the locals, and will lead to economic development in the region. 
  • Creation of World Class Facilities, Major investments by JNPT- Looking at the Rs 8,000-crore investment by PSA, around Rs 3,000 crore investment for road project which is six to eight lane project; and Rs 2,000 crore for a drilling project. By mid-2019 six/eight-lane corridor will be ready.  In addition, SEZ and the various flyovers and other issues, will cost around Rs 1,500 crore. Then there is a railway project worth Rs 70,000 crore, which is being undertaken by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCC). Around Rs 4,000 crore investments will be made by JNPT.
  • Coastal berth set up- JNPT is setting up a coastal berth. A green channel will be provided along with it. This coastal berth is between the BPCL Jetty and fourth container terminal. This will allow more cargo to come up.
  • Ease of Doing Business Initiatives- The introduction of a paperless process of entry of cargo into port gates. Facilitating paperless transactions saved time and increased transparency. In addition, with the introduction of radio frequency identification-based gate systems, the entry time has been reduced to a few minutes from the earlier system when it used to take half an hour or so. Apart from that, to enable the faster movement of cargo, the infrastructure facilities at the port has been continuously upgraded.

Increasing investments and cargo traffic point towards a healthy outlook for the Indian ports sector. The central government has laid great emphasis on port-led growth and is encouraging major ports to implement capacity addition and efficiency improvement measures aimed at reducing logistics costs to industry. Port-led economic growth will both bring benefits to exim trade as well as contribute to the overall growth of the economy. The capacity addition at ports is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5-6 per cent till 2022, thereby adding 275-325 MT of capacity. India’s cargo traffic handled by ports is expected to reach 1,695 million metric tonnes by 2021-22, according to a report of the National Transport Development Policy Committee. The performance of the Indian Port sector has been remarkable and with the initiatives taken, the future looks promising.

Source: Kavita Mishra/ TST Newsdesk

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