Navigating the Waves: Insights into India’s Maritime Sector
The Hamburg Representation Mumbai office recently gained insights into India’s maritime sector through organized meetings with key entities such as the Mumbai Port Authority, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority, and India Ports Global Limited. Additionally, participation in South Asia’s largest maritime trade fair, INMEX SMM India 2023, and the Global Maritime India Summit 2023 enriched this exposure. The themes revolved around India’s port infrastructure, shipbuilding sector, multimodal transport connectivity and green initiatives amidst evolving trade flows and shifting power dynamics. These engagements underscored India’s steady strides toward developing a robust maritime sector.
In the post-COVID era, there has been a realignment between the global south and west, with manufacturing shifting to India due to various diversification strategies. Capitalizing on this trend, India is heavily investing in port infrastructure, shipbuilding, and inland waterway connectivity. The maritime sector, employing 4 crore people and accounting for 70% of trade value, aims to increase port cargo by sixfold by 2050.
Sustainability and digitization now significantly influence the shipping sector. Although India missed the conventional shipbuilding boom, it is leapfrogging to green and smart shipbuilding. Technological innovations play a key role in achieving commercial viability for the Indian shipbuilding sector. Thus, collaboration is crucial for success, with the Ministry of External Affairs passing six projects under public-private partnerships since 2021. A consortium of maritime experts, financial institutions, universities, and policymakers is essential to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and training. As India develops shore power facilities, green hydrogen hubs, and offshore wind energy infrastructure at Tuticorin and Kandla, collaborations with experienced European countries are anticipated to yield fruitful results.
Collaborations are evident at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) in Mumbai, India’s youngest and third-largest port. Here, a skilled development facility in collaboration with the Port of Antwerp has been established. The Port of Singapore Authority’s terminal expansion will boost capacity to 10.4 million TEUs annually. The development of India’s first port-SEZ at JNPA, spanning 403 acres, is also underway. The port has shown remarkable performance improvement over the past decade, as the figures depict.
With JNPA and Mumbai Port nearing full capacity, the Vadhavan Port, a significant investment of Rs. 40,000 crore, is under development in Palghar district. By 2040, it aims to achieve a capacity of 24 million TEUs annually, ranking among the world’s ten largest ports.
Meanwhile, the strategically located Indian port, Chabahar in Iran, is forging new alliances amidst changing power dynamics. It facilitates enhanced connectivity to Russia, Europe, and Central Asia, with potential reductions of 60% in transport costs and 50% in transit time. The port offers new trade routes and is part of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC). As German firms invest in Chabahar port amid proactive economic diversification efforts, the early stages present opportune moments for investment.
As efficient port infrastructure is important, efficient hinterland services are the backbone of successful port logistics. India’s extensive coastline has facilitated a well-developed network of inland waterways, with the government aiming to revive 10,000 km of waterways and develop 105 new ones. The Jamuna River economic corridor, supported by the World Bank, is in progress. India aims to increase the modal share of inland waterways by 6 to 10% in the coming years. Notably, Hamburg’s well-developed network of hinterland services, as described in the latest issue of the Port of Hamburg magazine (September 2023), handles over half of Europe’s hinterland freight through successful public-private partnerships for green and digitized solutions. These developments suggest the potential for fruitful bilateral exchange between India and Hamburg through successful collaborations.
The data and information presented are based on the account provided by the interviewees. Our organization does not endorse or verify its authenticity.