India’s ministry of shipping has framed a new berthing policy for handling dry bulk cargo by 12 major ports in order to increase their volumes.
The new policy will come into effect from August this year.
Currently, dry bulk cargo accounts for around 26% of cargo handled at the 12 major ports and the growth in coastal shipping is expected to add nearly 100-150 million tonnes per annum of additional dry bulk cargo by 2020-25.
One of the objectives of the new policy is to provide a standardised framework for calculation of norms, specific to the commodity handled and the infrastructure available on the berth.
The policy required the ports to design norms with the objective of driving higher productivity and achieving near-design capacity of the available equipment / infrastructure in order to reduce berthing time and overall turn-around time of ships, improve utilisation of port assets, and increase competitiveness of major ports.
Furthermore, the new policy aims to reassess the capacity of the berths based on the expected performance of the berth equipment and vessels derived from performance norms.
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It also intends to standardise anchorage charges across the major ports to reduce turnaround time.
The ministry of shipping noted that recent benchmarking of ports’ performance across major dry bulk commodities has identified considerable scope for improvement of productivities.
The low productivity results high turn-around times in addition to higher berth occupancy levels across major ports.
Low productivity also prevents ports from being able to use the full capacity of exiting assets.
The ministry of shipping further stated that in many major ports in India, it has been observed that performance norms are not being used optimally to improve productivity
By improving efficiency at ports, logistic costs can be reduced and an environment can be provided to promote domestic manufacturing sector.
It will help create employment opportunities as well as help reducing consumer costs for edible oil, power generated by thermal coal transported through coastal shipping route.