Traditionally, ports were considered as transportation terminals involved in loading, unloading, stocking and transportation of goods. However, in today’s globalised world, competitiveness of the port is highly dependent on the competitiveness of its supporting regions. Ports like Rotterdam, Singapore, Fujian, Houston and Dubai owe their success largely to vibrant economic clusters in vicinity. Many port cities around the globe are working examples of a symbiotic relationship between port and its surrounding region.
With opening up of Indian economy and increasing private sector participation in port development, major industrial regions have come up in vicinity of ports. These developments were supported by the SEZ policy of central government and captive port policies of state governments.
In August 2003, the then PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced an ambitious plan “Sagarmala”, with the objective of achieving rapid capacity expansion and modernisation of ports along India’s eastern and western coast. Consequently in August 2014, the Prime Minister’s Office revived the Sagarmala scheme as an attempt to integrate logistics infrastructure of the country. It is also seen as policy initiative to develop India’s maritime sector that will contribute to the inclusive growth of the Indian coastal communities. The ambitious Sagarmala project envisages a port-led economy through infrastructure development in ports and integration of ports with Special Economic Zones, Port based Smart Cities, Industrial Parks, Warehouses, Logistics Parks and Transport Corridors.
The four pillars of the Sagarmala Programme are:
Port-led industrialization is the third pillar of the port-led development model. Ports play a crucial role in reducing domestic logistic costs and facilitating EXIM-oriented manufacturing by reducing logistics time and variability. Many countries with large coastlines like China have leveraged ports for aiding industrialisation.
Ports create significant economic payoffs for their city and state — they help generate jobs, add value, mobilise new investment, bring in tax revenues and support trade by reducing logistics costs. One tonne of port throughput is associated with a value addition of USD 100, and a 1 mn tonne increase in port throughput is associated with 300 new jobs being created in the port region in the short term.
Many countries with long coastlines have leveraged ports for supporting industrial growth. Some examples of success stories include the refinery and petrochemical complex in Rotterdam, the steel cluster in Pohang, and the electronics manufacturing cluster in Shenzhen.
Under the Sagarmala programme, more than 600 projects with infrastructure investment of Rs. 8.78 Lakh Crore have been identified since its inception. 105 projects of worth Rs. 0.16 Crore have been completed so far and 414 projects of worth Rs. 4.16 Crore are in advanced stages of implementation.
Vision of the Sagarmala Programme is to reduce logistics cost and time for the movement of EXIM and domestic cargo. Development of port-proximate industrial capacities near the coast, in future, is a step in this direction. In this regard, the concepts of Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs), Coastal Economic Units (CEUs), Port-Linked Industrial & Maritime Clusters and Smart Industrial Port Cities have been introduced.
Each CEZ will consist of multiple CEUs and more than one industrial cluster can be housed within a CEU. Within each industrial cluster there can be several manufacturing units. To accelerate the CEU development process, it is proposed that CEUs be prioritized in locations where land parcels are available in areas close to a deep draught port and with strong potential for manufacturing.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) was constituted under the aegis of NITI Aayog for development of CEZs in India. As recommended by IMC, the institutional framework for development of CEZs would be similar to the institutional framework adopted by NICDC for development of industrial corridors and industrial node. The development of CEZs will be taken up in phases wherein the first phase of development would focus on developing two large CEZs as pilots.
There are also plans to develop Smart Industrial Port Cities. Initially such cities are likely to come up near Kandla and Paradip ports.
Maritime clusters is one of focal points for economic development along India’s coastline and two major maritime clusters identified are in Tamil Nadu & Gujarat, similar to the global success stories in Japan and South Korea.
Gujarat and Tamil Nadu has the potential to emerge as major maritime clusters for India with scope of developing various components of the maritime cluster like ship building & ancillary services, maritime services, promoting maritime tourism and marine products.
In Gujarat, the potential marine cluster has the potential to leverage the existing ecosystem and steel supplies from Hazira. It can also utilize existing shipyards at Pipavav, Dahej & Hazira ports and ship breaking yard at Alang. The cluster will consist of existing shipyards, ancillary cluster at Bhavnagar with retail and leisure components, services cluster in Ahmedabad / Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) and existing fish landing centres as identified by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
The maritime cluster in Tamil Nadu is proposed to be developed near Chennai due to enabling conditions like existing shipyards, major ports, steel cluster, automotive and engineering industry, universities and colleges. A 100-acre land parcel owned by Kamrajar Port Limited has been identified for cluster development in Tamil Nadu. This site is also in proximity to Kattupalli Port and shipyard.
Given the manufacturing strength, size of the ports with high traffic and synergies with other steel ancillaries, both the identified locations for maritime clusters can provide positive synergistic effect by attracting business for the maritime industry and improving the economics for the cluster participants.
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