Presently, Indian ports handle more than 90% of India’s total EXIM trade volume. However, the current proportion of merchandize trade in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India is only 42%, whereas for some developed countries and regions in the world such as Germany and European Union, it is 75% and 70% respectively.
The growth of India’s maritime sector is constrained due to many developmental, procedural and policy related challenges viz. involvement of multiple agencies in development of infrastructure to promote industrialization, trade, tourism and transportation; presence of a dual institutional structure that has led to development of major and non-major ports as separate, unconnected entities; lack of requisite infrastructure for evacuation from major and non-major ports leading to sub-optimal transport modal mix; limited hinterland linkages that increases the cost of transportation and cargo movement; limited development of centres for manufacturing and urban and economic activities in the hinterland; low penetration of coastal and inland shipping in India, limited mechanization and procedural bottlenecks and lack of scale, deep draft and other facilities at various ports in India.
The Sagarmala initiative will address these challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely
(i) Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development,
(ii) Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and
(iii) Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.
Benefits of Sagarmala Project
• Sagarmala will lead to large scale employment generation of skilled and semi-skilled manpower in industrial clusters and parks, large ports, maritime services, logistics services, and other sectors of the economy that will be directly and indirectly impacted by port-led development under Sagarmala.
• Manufacture of ships, vessels, cruise ships, barges and tugs will also increase industrial output and also contribute to employment generation.
• It will result in sustainable development of the population living in the Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) by synergising and coordinating with State Governments and line Ministries of Central Government through their existing schemes and programmes such as those related to community and rural development, tribal development and employment generation, fisheries, skill development, tourism promotion etc. Today about 70 lakhs persons are dependent on fisheries for their livelihood.
• It will enhance the capacity of major and non-major ports and modernize them to make them efficient, thereby enabling them to become drivers of port-led economic development, optimizing the use of existing and future transport assets and developing new lines/linkages for transport (including roads, rail, inland waterways and coastal routes), setting up of logistics hubs, and establishment of industries and manufacturing centres to be served by the ports in EXIM and domestic trade.
• It also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promotes usage of electronic channels for information exchange leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.