The Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that the efficiency of Indian ports has improved greatly over the last two years and the performance of government ports in the country has been better than private ports this year. He said, the Ministry has taken various steps to improve the efficiency of ports. Old rules have been weeded out, port mechanization and modernization is being done on war footing and projects for improving connectivity of ports are being implemented in right earnest. He further stressed upon the importance of e governance for ensuring good governance The Minister released a report titled “Next Generation Port Infrastructure - Technology Transformation for Integrated Port Operations” in New Delhi today. The report contains recommendations of a task force constituted by the Ministry to prepare a robust Information Technology (IT) transformation document for them, clearly defining a long-term strategic roadmap and implementation plans. The task force was also required to study the present state of IT adoption levels and suggest measures to reform and modernize the entire system for better transparency, efficiency and accountability.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkari called upon port authorities to catch up with the new trends in port strategies that are emerging around the world. He said that, in order to compete with the global trading systems, our port authorities need to take on more and more active roles in the governance of logistics systems and also adopt managerial and entrepreneurial behaviours. He said he was very hopeful that the recommendations of the Task Force would pave the way for modernizing our port systems for better efficiency, speed and delivery.The main focus of the IT task force has been to provide a structure for developing and implementing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies in India. The report notes that there are many developed countries in today’s world whose applications of ITS technologies for solving transportation problems have reached a fairly advanced level. In India the development of such ITS solutions is at a fairly nascent stage. In India, the development and implementation of IT technologies are happening in an ad-hoc manner at the moment, resulting in different standards and stages of implementation. The overall outcome of such implementation, therefore, is not substantially productive. The task force has studied the as-is situation with regard to ITS technologies being used in the port sector in India and highlights the ongoing issues in this sector. The task force has also focussed on ITS technologies that are developed and implemented by the ports in Singapore and Rotterdam- two of the leading ports that have used technology as an enabler for port operations.
Some of the major recommendations of the task force include :
· Creation of an ITS department, development of ITS architecture, standards and protocols that will help in structuring investments in transportation and delivering safe and effective transportation.
· Smart Ports, which would help usher in optimization of space, personnel and traffic.
· Single Window System, which would help in reducing transaction costs and logistics costs involved in the movement of cargo.
· Technology implementation at the gates for processing that will help reduce the delay in receiving and dropping of cargo.
· Setting up an innovation / R&D fund to help drive innovation and an ecosystem for the maritime sector in India.
· Standardization of messages, protocols, standards and processes which will help in operational efficiency and increase productivity parameters of ports operations.