Indian Port capacity to increase to 2000 mt by 2012: Ms Dhingra

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Mumbai, Feb 6 (UNI) Director General of Shipping, Kiran Dhingra today said taking into account all the capacity expansions being planned in the private and public sectors, total port capacity in the country was expected to increase to 2000 million tones by 2012.

Addressing the Maritime Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here today, Ms Dhingra said, ''With the growing Indian economy, we have to ensure that the Maritime industry here does not become a factor restricting the country's growth'' Although fiscal policy, Ms Dhingra said, is not perceived to be supportive of the shipping industry, the gross tonnage of the industry had increased from eight million tones last year to nine million tones this year.

''The strategy of the Directorate would be to build capacity of ports and at the same time ensure connectivity with the hinterland,'' she added.

Addressing the seminar, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust Chairman S S Hussain said that huge efforts are being undertaken to build capacities and strengthen the hinterland connectivity.

''A total of 36 projects, costing to about Rs 5,000 crores, are being undertaken throughout the country,'' he said.

S Hajara, Chairman, CII National Committee on Shipping and Maritime and Chairman and Managing Director, the Shipping Corporation of India, in his welcome address, said that over the last couple of decades, Indian maritime infrastructure has not kept pace with the overall economic growth.

Improvement in port infrastructure can have a major impact by reducing the cost of goods coming into the country and making exports more profitable, he opined.

According to him, with international trade growing rapidly, non-major ports have been growing rapidly.

He also mentioned that the Indian shipbuilding industry, which currently has a market share of one per cent, is likely to make its presence felt globally.

Earlier, speaking in the inugural session, CII Managing Director and Vice President and ICICI Bank CEO, K V Kamath said, ''We are about to see disruptive change in the Indian shipping industry.'' He said that international trade is expected to triple in the coming 4-5 years.

Enumerating the challenges faced by the maritime industry, Mr Kamath specified that a massive expansion of port infrastructure was inevitable and that there a few issues which need to be tackled and one among them is training manpower.

UNI IAS SR RL ND1820

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