Gujarat ports see lower than national average growth

New Delhi, Jan 30 () Gujarat, home for busiest seaports in the country, has recorded cargo traffic growth rate of 4.1 per cent in the April-December period of the current fiscal, which is lower than the national average, according to Union Shipping Ministry data.

While non-major ports in India saw a 4.8 per cent rise in cargo tariff in the first nine months of 2019-20 to 447.21 million tonnes, the ones of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) grew by 4.1 per cent, the data showed.

Gujarat had been the most preferred coastal state attracting significant cargo traffic and contributed significantly to the maritime trade and logistics in the country. GMB handles more than two-thirds of traffic at non-major ports.

But with Maharashtra and ports on the east coast attracting higher tariff, the market share of Gujarat has fallen. Advertisement

Industry sources said one reason for the shift may be very few handling restrictions in eastern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha while Gujarat continues to operate with a port policy designed 25 years back in 1995.

The state government in September 2019 announced intentions to bring a new 'game-changer' policy that removed restrictions on cargo handling.

The policy, sources said, would have resulted in Rs 4,000 crore investment in the state along with Rs 400 crore revenue per year to the government. But the policy is yet to be implemented despite it being approved by the Chief Minister and being notified by Gujarat Maritime Board.
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Sources said the policy, which would have added 32 more jetties without any restriction on cargo handling, was to have significant benefits to the industry in terms of lowering of logistics costs and ease of doing business and would have created 25,000 additional jobs.

During the April-December 2019-20, Directorate of Ports at Odisha recorded the highest growth in traffic at 64.2 per cent followed by Ports of Tamil Nadu Maritime Board (34.1 per cent), Directorate of Ports, Puducherry, 27.7 per cent), Ports Management Board, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (25.4 per cent) and Directorate of Ports, Karnataka (25 per cent) over the same period of the previous year, the shipping ministry data showed. However, when it came to handling cargo, Gujarat Maritime Board handled the maximum cargo of 304.99 million tonnes with a share of 68.2 per cent followed by Directorate of ports, Andhra Pradesh (17 per cent), Maharashtra Maritime Board (6.8 per cent) and Directorate of Ports, Odisha (5.7 per cent), it said. Advertisement

As far as coastal cargo was concerned Gujarat Maritime Board handled 35 million tonnes with a share of 51.6 per cent followed by Maharashtra Maritime Board (22 per cent).

Gujarat has a long coastline of about 1,600 km. ANZ MR MR
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