Atmanirbhar Bharat: Anchoring growth for the future

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s premier container port is ranked 28th in the top 100 container ports in the world and has firmly anchored itself as the major catalyst for trade and commerce in the country. JNPT is also taking various measures to boost port-led development in India and has set a target of doubling its capacity to 10 million TEUs in next two-three years and is moving forward to achieve that.

Growth in COVID-19 times

In the current scenario — overcoming the COVID-19 impact and the countrywide lockdown — the port remained operational as part of essential services. It is playing a crucial role in keeping the global supply chain active by ensuring the availability of essential goods to sustain the national and international needs. However, due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, there has been a drop in trade volumes across ports. Along with others, JNPT also felt the impact initially, but month-on-month the revival has been favourable and the port hopes to be back to pre-COVID-19 growth levels soon. Highlighting the port's commitment of being operational, JNPT Chairman Sanjay Sethi said, “With the support of all stakeholders and employees, JNPT remained operational during the lockdown period to serve the EXIM community. The port will continue to support the country’s economic growth and perform its duties to steadfast growth trajectory of the port sector. In July, we have seen exports increasing and we expect even the imports to get back to normal by the end of this month. There were few ups and downs but we have managed to keep the operations up and running.”

According to the latest Shipping ministry data, in terms of volume, JNPT stands at 16.94 million tonnes (mt) during April-July period, whereas JNPT’s container volumes stood at 1.192 million TEUs.

Investment potential of JNPT

Even the global pandemic could not dampen the spirit of the container port as JNPT attracted an investment worth Rs 1,000 crore (in July) from Hindustan Infralog Private Limited (HIPL), a joint venture between DP World and NIIF. This investment was to develop the Nhava Sheva Business Park (NSBP), Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FTWZ) situated at JNPT. The FTWZ project at JNPT will contribute in establishing India as a major trade and manufacturing hub, and support the Government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme. While ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a relatively new scheme, JNPT under the Sagarmala initiative was already in the path of port-led development — benefitting not just businesses but communities too.

Sethi said, "JNPT has been an integral part of the Indian ports growth story and has been serving India’s growing trade for over thirty years now. Aligning itself with the direction of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, JNPT has initiated various capacity building infrastructural development projects for providing better service to the maritime industry and trade. To address the growing demand of the EXIM trade, JNPT is constantly upgrading its capabilities to offer cost-effective integrated logistics solutions, through infrastructure expansion plans and implementation of several ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiatives.”

He added, “To cater to the future traffic, JNPT has already implemented a Road expansion project, which is nearing completion. The port also has completed dredging for deepening and widening of the Main Harbour Channel at JNPT and the port is in a position to handle the container vessels of 12,500 TEUs capacity, which was capped at 8,000 TEUs earlier. JNPT will continue to take various other infrastructural developments in the coming days as well. JNPT will work hand in hand with the ministry by promoting port-led industrialisation and play its part in PM's dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

JNPT is also developing a fourth container terminal in partnership with the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), a Rs 8,000 crore project. The upcoming Dedicated Freight Corridor connecting JNPT to northern heartland will be a major facilitator in the port’s growth plan.

Another major infrastructure project under port-led industrialisation is JNPT-SEZ which is already operational. The SEZ once fully occupied is expected to generate Rs 4,000 crore of investments and create 57,000 jobs in the SEZ. In addition, JNPT is developing a satellite port at Vadhavan, an ‘All weather, All Cargo Port’. Besides port-based SEZ and satellite port, JNPT is also developing dry ports in the hinterland of Maharashtra at Jalna, Wardha, Nasik and Sangli.

With some major projects and strategic initiatives underway JNPT is cementing its position as a leading port backed by technology and better customer service. This will be a step towards Self-Reliant India – in a true sense Atmanirbhar Bharat.

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Free Press Journal