JNPA chairman speaks to ET Insights about privatisation, expansion plans, Centralised Parking Plaza (CPP) and much more. Excerpts from the interview.
JNPA has now become the first landlord port in the country with the privatisation of JNPCT. What changes will be in effect in the operations in future?
JNPCT is now a PPP terminal, the successful bidder being a consortium of J M Baxi and CMA CGM. The shallow water berth will soon follow suit. So, yes, we are a landlord port. But what remains with us is also important. One is the marine services. Then we have the infrastructure department, focusing on roads, water and power. JNPA will continue to develop and provide new infrastructure. Many of the major global ports are today landlord facilities, whose key responsibilities include marketing. We will now be taking up marketing in a more streamlined manner, with the Authority doing common port business development. Port-led industrialisation, development/monetisation of port land, end-to-end logistics involving developing dry ports etc., rail ICD issues such as inter-terminal transfer and more will also be the Authority’s prerogative. One thing we definitely won’t be doing is running the terminals.
How do you assess the performance of JN Port in recent years?
When we talk about the overall experience, there are both positive and challenging aspects. The port achieved a record container handling performance of 5.68 million TEUs in 2021-22. Work on the second phase of the PSA terminal has begun, with all issues sorted out. The coastal berth was completed and the additional liquid cargo berth will be done in year’s time. The highway connectivity to the port has been almost completed, with the Rs 2,300 crore project that has significantly reduced the distance to the port. All hurdles about the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) have been cleared and we expect it to connect the port by this December.
The Port yards are already DFCC compliant. We are planning a common over-dimensional cargo (ODC) handling facility within the port limits, for which aspects like land requirements, investment needs, the operators, etc, are being worked out. This will be a completely new, innovative, and time-bound project.
What are the key expansion plans at the port?
One of the major key expansion projects was the Centralised Parking Plaza (CPP), which has given a big boost to Direct Port Entry (DPE). CPP is the first of its kind in India to have OCR enabled gate automation system, smart parking management system, and RFID readers installed at gates for a real-time update. Dormitory, canteen, and TT repair shop facilities are also available in CPP with 24 hrs Wifi facilities. All formalities of Customs etc., including open examination, are now done at the CPP, which has significantly reduced the time and, in turn, the cost. The SEZ and dry ports infrastructure has been completed, except for some minor works at Jalna remains.
Keeping expansion in view, I would especially like to mention our most ambitious project which is Vadhvan Port. The JNPA has proposed to develop the Vadhvan Port which will enable it to anchor larger vessels as it has a natural draft of 18 meters. A deep draft port will give the advantage of economy of scale and will reduce the logistics cost increasing EXIM trade of the Nation by about 302 MTPA by 2040 will also connect J N Port to the hinterland of northern and western India.