India's major ports handle record 795 million tonnes of cargo in FY23
05 May 2023
India's major ports reached unprecedented heights, posting a growth of 10.4 per cent year-on-year in cargo handling and setting new records across various key performance indicators in the 2022-23 financial year, union minister of ports, shipping and waterways and AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal has said.
Speaking at the second edition of FICCI’s Port Infrastructure Conclave in New Delhi on Friday, Sonowal noted that major ports collectively handled a record-breaking 795 million tonnes of cargo, recording a 10.4 per cent growth over the previous year. Furthermore, the ports achieved the highest-ever output per day of 17,239 tonnes, marking a 6 per cent increase compared to last year, says a shipping ministry release.
Another significant accomplishment was the best-ever operating ratio of 48.54 per cent. He said the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) set a new benchmark by handling over 6 million TEUs, reflecting the highest container throughput. Major ports also recorded their highest-ever number of vessels handled, reaching a total of 21,846 vessels in the year, he added.
Sonowal noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Indian shipping industry has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of ships, gross tonnage, and seafarers employed. He said the fleet of ships sailing under the Indian flag has expanded from 1,205 in 2014 to 1,526 by 2023, showcasing the country's commitment to strengthening its maritime presence. This growth has been accompanied by a significant rise in gross tonnage, increasing from 10.3 million in 2014 to 13.7 million in 2023, reflecting the enhanced capacity and scale of operations. Furthermore, the union minister said, the number of Indian seafarers has more than doubled from 1,17,090 in 2014 to a remarkable 2,50,071 in 2022, recording an increase of almost 114 per cent in just nine years.
He attributed these achievements to the government’s dedication to developing and modernising its port infrastructure to boost trade and support economic growth.
Emphasing on India's progress in developing state-of-the-art port infrastructure and outlining future plans for the maritime sector, the union minister said, "95 per cent of India's trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is done through maritime transportation. For smooth and efficient trading, most-modern and advanced port infrastructure is of paramount importance."
Sonowal emphasised the importance of incorporating technology into port operations, stating that "smart ports are the future, and we are already making significant strides towards this goal." By leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence, India aims to optimise port operations and boost efficiency. He alluded to recent digital initiatives such as the NLP-Marine and Sagar-Setu app, geared towards bringing all stakeholders onto a single platform, reducing logistical costs and time, and improving overall efficiency. Additionally, major ports are embracing automation, with the installation of gate automation, enterprise business solutions, and container scanners, he pointed out.
Sonowal said that major ports are being developed to become hydrogen hubs for handling, storage, and transportation of green hydrogen. Deendayal, Paradip, and V.O. Chidambaranar ports have already begun developing the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen bunkering, he said.
Dhruv Kotak, chairman, Ports & Shipping, FICCI Committee for Transport Infrastructure, lauded the government for its commitment to sustainability and green port initiatives. Kotak noted that the Green Port Policy aims to transform the port ecosystem by focusing on emission management across scope one, scope two, and scope three emissions.
Sonowal also launched the FICCI - CRISIL Knowledge Paper on 'Smart, Safe & Sustainable Ports.' The Knowledge Paper delves into the key elements that contribute to the creation of smart, safe, and sustainable ports. It offers a comprehensive overview of the latest technological advancements, operational best practices, and sustainability initiatives that port operators can adopt to optimise port efficiency and minimise environmental impact, he added.