CHENNAI : In the last seven years, initiatives in the Sagarmala Programme to increase the capacity of ports by infrastructure modernisation and improving the connectivity have helped in lowering the overall cost of ports; reducing turnaround time for vessels; increasing efficiency and providing the ability to handle larger ships and developing strategic importance of Indian ports in the South Asian region.
It is the results of these efforts in ports that helped India to achieve the $400 billion of goods exports — a record in 2021-22, said the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shri Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Centre’s ambitious Sagarmala Programme aims to promote port-led development, and accelerate economic growth in the country by reducing the logistics cost for both domestic and international cargo with requisite infrastructure investment, he said at the 24th Biennial Convention of the Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India.
This is the apex body representing 28 member-associations from across the country representing 6,500 Customs brokers (employing over 1,10,000 people).
The Prime Minister’s Gati Shakthi National Master Plan to provide multi-modal connectivity to various Special Economic Zones for seamless movement of people; goods and services resulting in efficient conduct of logistics and economic activities. Under this initiative, the Ministry of Ports and Shipping and Waterways has identified 101 projects worth ₹62,637 crore for implementation by 2024, he said.
The minister said the freight forwarders are major stakeholders in India’s EXIM and domestic cargo handling. Their role in moving the country’s economy forward is tremendous and is a huge strength behind the PM Gati Shakti initiative, said Sarbananda Sonowal,
“Your suggestion of making India Atmanirbhar Bharat in the shipping industry by possessing our container shipping line and improving container availability to shipping is well noted,” he said.