In a new Port Performance Index, important ports like Kamarajar, Visakhapatnam and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust have received a ‘Good’ score. The index was a part of a study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet and gauged the performance of thirteen ports which handle approximately 67% of India’s maritime trade.
According to a statement by the commerce ministry, seven ports- Cochin, Kandla, Paradip, Chennai, Mormugao, New Mangalore and VOC have received an ‘Average’ score, while three ports- Haldia, Kolkata and Mumbai Port Trust have received a ‘Poor’ score in the index.
The ‘Port Performance Index’ examines the performance of various ports by combining the qualitative perception of stakeholders with quantitative data based on outcome. The study analysed the problems faced by the ports sector and proposed measures to overcome them. It was then handed over to Commerce and Industry minister Suresh Prabhu.
The most common problems faced by the ports include customs clearance, congestion, shipping line issues, documentation and paperwork, and regulatory clearance. The three important findings of the report are:
(i) Processes and operations across the ports are not standardised;
(ii) Costs and time for crucial processes are unpredictable and there is an unacceptable level of variation across, as well as within ports; and
(iii) Several initiatives taken by the government remain incomplete.
The study did not cover liquid cargo and was limited only to container and bulk cargo handled at these ports. Over 700 respondents comprising of government officials, trade associations, exporter/importers, cargo handling agents and freight forwarders were engaged from all over India. Their feedback was on both qualitative and quantitative aspects of business transactions at ports.
The ministry said, “To achieve a target of 5% share in world exports, India’s exports need to grow at an average rate of over 26% for the next five years. This would require increasing its product competitiveness. Enhancing product competitiveness in the global market needs infrastructure for trade to improve, and ports are a critical part of trade infrastructure.”