Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust
The FIRST Construction Council recently organised the ‘Revolutionising Ports Conference’ at the Karnika Cruise in Mumbai, with a focus on ‘Integrating India’s Maritime Stakeholders’. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, was the chief guest at the event and addressed the attendees on the benefits of the Port Community System (PCS), emphasising that “all stakeholders need to come together and get on board”. SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN from CW – the event’s official media partner – interacted with him to learn more about the strategic initiatives and growth expected in the ports sector going forward...
What are the major strategic initiatives that will drive the next phase of capacity addition and investment by Mumbai Port Trust?
For the Indian Ports Association, the goals are in Sagarmala. We are going in for port modernisation, capacity addition and port-led industrial development. Mumbai has a different approach, with the Mumbai Port’s main initiative being cruise development. Five ports, including Mumbai, Chennai, New Mangalore and Goa, have come together and prepared a roadmap. We are all developing new terminals. This is our first main strategic initiative and we have been successful at it.
Second, for all ports with a metropolitan city around them, we are trying to shift towards water transport and reutilisation of lands. For instance, in Mumbai, we have identified 253 hectare to develop a new high-tech city in Sewree, which is related to sea tourism and water transport. At present, plans have been prepared; once the approvals come in, we will be developing that. It is a huge initiative and will make a huge difference to Mumbai because the entire eastern part of the city will undergo redevelopment.
Third, on the ports side, Mumbai is developing a fifth oil jetty, which is 22 million tonne. With this, we are adding capacity on the oil side.
How is Sagarmala providing opportunities for private players?
The Ministry of Shipping and all the ports have identified the landlord model as the main approach. The Major Ports Authorities Bill has been introduced and is yet to be passed. So, as per the landlord model, every port body is an authority. And, all the terminals will be planned as PPP projects. Everything will be outsourced; the running of the ports and trading will be all done by the private sector. And, we will continue to look after the ocean part, the basic infrastructure, and the integration and coordination of all the terminals. So there is a huge advantage for the private sector now with the landlord model being identified as the model for all ports.
What are the goals for the next two to three years?
For Mumbai port, one is the cruise business, which is moving fast. I have identified two jetties
for that purpose. We will be completing our international cruise terminal in another eight months, which will be on the lines of the Mumbai Airport. We are also developing water transport systems – water taxis – for the city of Mumbai. The third one on the ports side is the oil business.
How is digitisation, especially logistic data bank, enabling the port to track and trace the movement of EXIM containers?
Our country was quite backward in terms of computerisation. It is only in the past two to three years that tremendous progress has been made. Five ports are going in for a complete overhaul through an ERP system, which should be completed in the next six to eight months. Then, the PCS has been made completely user-friendly and converted into PCS1 plus. It is on the Cloud now. We are also aiming to go towards the National Logistics Portal, where anything that an importer or an exporter needs will be through that portal.
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