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Published: 31 January 2010      

India may miss port capacity target

Targeted capacity additions at India’s 12 state-run major ports may be widely missed with the economy growing slower than expected and global trade shrinking, Shipping Secretary K Mohandas said.

The 12 ports had a capacity of 575 mt of cargo in the year ended March 2009 but handled only 531mt. Volumes at the 12 ports are expected to rise to 650 mt by 2012, while capacity will rise to 743 mt, short of the 1.02 bt target, he said.

Ports owned and operated by private companies may benefit from lower capacity additions at major ports, observers said.

Despite the government's efforts to expand capacity, an increasing number of litigations has been delaying, if not stalling, many port projects. Nearly half a dozen projects that were announced by major ports are under various stages of litigation.

One consultant summed up the situation: "All-pervading corruption is the main culprit. Unless we are able to root out this enormous parasite from our system, all projects and programmes, however fair the bidding process that we may have devised and implemented, will continue to be delayed or derailed."



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