Visakhapatnam: Private investments play imperative role in port sector

VPA Chairman K Rama Mohana Rao addressing at the inaugural of the conclave hosted by Visakhapatnam Port Authority in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday
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VPA Chairman K Rama Mohana Rao addressing at the inaugural of the conclave hosted by Visakhapatnam Port Authority in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday

Highlights

  • Economic development of the hinterland would be made possible through cost effective capacity building
  • The need for modernisation and upgradation of existing ports was stressed by operators

Visakhapatnam: Laying emphasis on the requirement of the private investments through public-private-partnership (PPP) mode, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) Shripad Yesso Naik said private investments play an imperative role in the port-led development and taking the ensuing plans for commissioning projects under Sagarmala, inland waterways and smart port cities way forward.

Delivering his inaugural address at a two-day conclave that focused on the 'maritime public private partnership – 2022' hosted by Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first PPP project of the port sector that began in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday, the Union Minister highlighted four main issues of the existing PPP Model Concession Agreement (MCA). "They include levying accountability on the concessioning authority, need for flexibility in specifying minimum guaranteed cargo (MGC), sharing of project risks and absence of a grievance redressal mechanism," Shripad Yesso Naik explained, adding that the new MCA-2021 will be a game changer in the port sector as it aids in bridging the gaps and addressing various issues.

Highlighting India's vast inland waterways stretching approximately 20,000-km, VPA Chairman K Rama Mohana Rao stated that it is emerging as a viable alternative to road and rail transport. "So far, 86 projects worth Rs.55,000 crore have been granted approval by the Central government under the PPP mode," informed the Chairman in his keynote address, adding that the VPA has set an ambitious target of breaking the previous record of 72 MT of cargo handling.

With four berths in the pipeline for mechanisation, the VPA Chairman said, two more would be added in another five to six months. Barring one or two of the 29 berths at the port, the mechanisation would be taken up through PPP mode for the rest in a landlord model.

VPA is striving to be a full-fledged landlord port within a few years. Currently, the port has six BoT/PPP terminals operating and four more PPP projects are under the pipeline this year. "There is immense potential for the country to march forward in this direction and attract more investments through PPP mode," Mr. Rama Mohana Rao informed.

Speakers from Sagarmala Development Company, SBI Capital Markets, AP Chamber of Commerce, tariff authority, APMB, Marsh India Ltd spoke about ports and maritime trade.

Commissioner of Customs, Visakhapatnam, K.Engineer Divisional Railway Manager of Waltair Anup Satpathy, Deputy Chairman of VPA Durgesh Kumar Dubey and Chief Vigilance Officer J. Pradeep Kumar, stakeholders of VPA, AP Maritime Board and trade, among others, attended.

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