The recently released World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index (LPI) Report 2023 highlights India’s significant improvement in the global rankings for the “International Shipments” category. India has moved up to the 22nd rank, a substantial improvement from its 44th position in 2014. The country has also secured the 38th rank on the LPI score, reflecting its enhanced logistics sector.
One of the key factors contributing to India’s improved performance is the notable reduction in dwell time at Indian ports. Currently, vessels spend only about three days actively loading or unloading cargo, compared to four days in countries like the UAE and South Africa, seven days in the US, and 10 days in Germany. India has also excelled in port operational efficiency, with an average turnaround time (TRT) of only 0.9 days, which is among the best in the world.
This achievement can be attributed to substantial investments in port infrastructure upgrades over the past few years. The government has focused on enhancing port efficiency and productivity through reforms, the introduction of new technologies, a greater emphasis on public-private partnerships, and a commitment to ease of doing business.
The capacity at 12 major ports in India has increased from 871 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2015 to 1,617 MMT in 2023. Moreover, the total capacity of Indian ports has risen from around 1,560 MMT in 2015 to over 2,600 MMT. Public-private partnership (PPP) projects have played a crucial role in improving operational efficiencies, contributing to nearly 300 MMT of additional capacity and handling approximately 54% of the total cargo in major ports. The value of operationalization of PPP projects has seen a significant increase, from about Rs 16,000 crore in 2015 to over Rs 40,000 crore in 2022-23.
India’s focus on decarbonization in the maritime sector, aligned with the government’s Panchamrit commitments, has led to a 14-fold increase in the use of renewable energy in major ports over the past eight years. Furthermore, four major ports now generate more renewable energy than their total energy needs. The government’s issuance of Harit Sagar Green Port guidelines further reinforces the commitment to safe, efficient, and sustainable ports, along with sound environmental practices among all stakeholders.
To enhance efficiency, the National Logistics Portal (Marine) was launched, providing a single-window digital platform for all stakeholders involved in cargo services, carrier services, banking and financial services, and government and regulatory agencies. The Sagar Setu app also facilitates seamless movement of goods and services in ports, significantly improving the ease of doing business.
The government has undertaken key policy and legislative reforms to boost the port sector. These include the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021, which grants greater autonomy to major ports, the Marine Aids to Navigation Act, 2021, which enhances safety and efficiency in vessel traffic services and training, and the Indian Vessels Act, 2021, which ensures uniformity in law and standardized provisions across all inland waterways. Additionally, the government is in the process of replacing the Indian Ports Act, 1908 with legislation that aligns with present-day requirements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has prioritized developing ports as hubs of economic activity, and the global recognition of India’s operational efficiencies in ports and the maritime sector is a significant step toward achieving India’s goal of becoming a global maritime power, as outlined in the Maritime India Vision 2030.