Despite its 4,300-mile coastline, India’s coastal shipping sector is considered to be still be its infancy. India is now investing in modernizing its major ports and its shipping ministry unveiled a five-year $10.7 billion plan as part of the nation’s Sagar Mala project.
The program intends to modernize ports to increase connectivity for industrial and coastal development. The plan will develop the country’s waterways and ports.
India’s ports have struggled to increase trade because of the lack of port and terminal facilities, which often increase vessels port time calls and forcing them to wait for docks. As a short-term solution, the government will expedited berthing procedures move ships through faster.
The average wait time for vessels calling Indian ports can be as long as four days compared to just an average of four hours in Singapore and other major ports in the world. India cannot accommodate large and mega-boxships either. And, in most cases, feeder ship services are required to move cargoes.
India wants to build its economy and intends to focus on expanding its transportation assets including roads, inland waterways and coastal routes.
Additionally, India’s Merchant Shipping Act requires Indian-flagged ships to be manned by Indian crews, and there is currently a shortage of trained personnel. In July, government announced plans to open a maritime training college in Bihar State.