Focused to be ‘future ready’

JNPT is the only Indian port to number among the top 30 container ports globally in the Lloyds Report. Continued development of port-led infrastructure is driving the next phase of transformation at the port making it future ready. The next goal for Sanjay Sethi, Chairman of this major port is to number among the top 15 global ports

Q You recently took charge as Chairman of JNPT. What is the agenda before you in this role?

JNPT is on an incredible growth path which reflects in our performance, as we have already crossed the 5 million teus milestone in container handling for financial year ending 31st March 2019. We have firmly consolidated our place as the number one container port in India and are also ranked amongst the top 30 container ports across the world.

So now our focus is to enhance our operational efficiency and capabilities to be among the top ports globally and we already have taken significant steps in that direction. We have completed dredging the navigational channel from 14mts to 15mts which will allow larger vessels up to 12,500 teus capacity to dock at our Port. Even in the global market, the vessels are getting bigger to account for the increasing demand of business and this strategic move will equip us to handle these large consignments, automatically leading to more container traffic and business growth. We are also developing a ‘Free Trade Warehousing Zone’ at JNPTSEZ, which will accentuate our Port based SEZ as a preferred investment destination for both domestic and global companies. The growth of the SEZ project will not only benefit the companies who are there but will also provide huge scope for employment and development for the local community, thus contribute to the nation’s growth. So in a nutshell, the agenda is to sustain our growth trajectory and also focus on port development to provide state of the art infrastructure that matches global standards.

Q How has the last financial year been for the Port?

The financial year of 2018 -19 was a momentous year, both from a business perspective and for the overall port development. We continued to up-scale our growth and closed the financial year (31st March 2019) at 5.13 million teus marking a 6.2 per cent growth over the last financial year. Another feather in our cap was the container traffic handled in March 2019 alone, 4.71 lakh teus, is the record highest traffic handled for any month.

The JNPT SEZ is fast turning up from an idea into a visible realty. Spread across 277 hectare of land the multi product industrial hub was conceived under the aegis of Sagarmala programme of the Ministry of Shipping and out of the 450 acres of leasable land for development, 75 acres of land have been allotted to 16 investors and JNPT has collected a premium of `630 crores by allotting to successful bidders through tender procedure.

With the overall port expansion there will be increase in the container traffic on the roads, so JNPT has taken up the road widening work of NH-4B, SH-54 and Amra Marg from 4 lane to 6/8 lanes and construction of grade separators at critical junctions for smooth evacuation of cargo and least inconvenience to the non-port traffic. Other noteworthy developments include the commencement of operations at Phase 1 of the Fourth Terminal. The second phase of the terminal will be ready by 2022 and it will push the total Port capacity to over 10 million.

To boost the hinterland cargo, we also have some strategic projects like the development of dry ports at Wardha, Jalna, Sangli and Nashik, developing a coastal berth with liquid cargo handling capacity and many other port led Infrastructural projects underway, which will drive the next phase of transformation of the Port.

Q JNPT has made its place among the top 30 container ports globally in the Lloyds Report. How has the port been able to achieve this feat?

Over 53 per cent of the country’s total major port’s container volume and 32 per cent of the nation’s overall containerised ocean trade is handled by JNPT. The main reason for the success of JNPT is our focus towards being a ‘future ready’ port and our commitment towards ‘value-add’ to our stakeholders. We are aligned to the Sagarmala Project and are focused on the five factors critical for the project – port modernisation, infrastructural development, port led industrialisation, creation of a special economic zone and community support. JNPT has systematically invested and evolved all these key parameters and developed into a port that holds a prominent place among the most modern ports across the world. JNPT is constantly innovating and up-scaling operations to not only meet global market demands but also to provide seamless customer service and ease of doing business. Being the only Indian port in the top 30 list of container ports globally is a validation to our efforts and we are now scalingup our capacity and operational efficiency, to be one amongst the top 15 ports globally.

Q Tell us about the recent measures implemented by the port to facilitate trade under ease of doing business?

We already have a slew of initiatives under ‘Ease of Doing Business’ which can be segmented into three folds – digitisation, simplification of processes and upgrading infrastructure. Under digitalisation, we have implemented RFID enabled gate automation, E-Delivery orders, online un/berthing, elimination of Form 13 and Form 11, Inter-Terminal Transfers of trailer trucks (ITT) services and was also the first port in the country to implement logistics data bank tagging of containers, which helped the trade to get real time information about the location and movement of the container during transit. Direct Port delivery (DPD) & Direct Port Entry (DPE) services, encouraging modal shift of cargo movement from road to rail by rationalisation of tariffs for rail to be at par with road tariffs and gate window time reducing from 6 days to 4/3 days are some initiatives under simplified processes. While developing container holding yard, system integration for faster port clearance, developing centralised parking plaza and offering land for setting up of laboratories in the proximity of the port are some of the infrastructure upgrade in progress. In addition, for faster evacuation of cargo we have mega road infrastructure development project underway at an investment of `3000 crores. All of our efforts towards ‘ease of doing business’ to enhance the quality and efficiency of trade, was lauded when JNPT was credited for helping India leverage its position in the World Bank Ranking in trading across the borders, from 146 to 80, a jump of 66 points!

Q What measures is the port taking to scale up capacity and enhance operational efficiency?

Talking of enhancing operations, under the Ease of Doing Business initiatives we already have 48 per cent of the import cargo handled routed through DPD system and our ITT service has helped the EXIM community to save fuel worth more than 12 crore and trade cost saving of close to 211 crore, till date. We already are on-course with the development of the Fourth Terminal which will increase our capacity handling to 10 million teus by 2022. We also have the JNPT-SEZ project in progress which will set a benchmark for port led industrialisation. The development of FTWZ will further enhance SEZ as an attractive investment destination for the domestic and global players.

The `3000 crore road development project is in progress and 70 per cent of the work is completed and schedule date of completion is December 2019 which will help in faster evacuation of cargo. JNPT is also encouraging modal shift to rail and to promote this, we have equalized the cargo handling rates for both road and rail.

In addition to these initiatives, we also launched our App service, both iOS and Android versions to help the EXIM trade community have access to all relevant information right at their fingertips. This was an important step towards digitalisation of the Port.

Q How is the coastal cargo movement happening through the port? What are the commodities and volumes moved last year?

In the financial year ended March 31, 2019 JNPT handled 4.68 million tonnes of coastal cargo which includes POL, cement and chemicals and other liquids. It is estimated that, if coastal shipping of about 180-200 mmtpa can be achieved from current and planned capacities across coal, cement, iron and steel, food grains, fertilizers, POL by 2025, the trade can save about `10,000-15,000 crore annually. One major reason that coastal shipping has been unable to pick up in the country is due to the lack of suitable infrastructure supporting movement through the coast. So JNPT is developing dedicated coastal berth of 2.5 mtpa which will be ready by July 2020, to promote coastal shipping as a mode of freight transportation.

Q What is the status of Direct Port Delivery container movement at JNPT?

The implementation of DPD service has been one of the key strategic initiatives at the Port, benefitting both, the EXIM community and the Port business at large. Today we have close to 50 per cent of the container traffic routed through DPD service and this has not only reduced the transaction cost and time but has significantly increased the overall operational capability and efficiency of the Port.

Q JNPCT has recently significantly brought down its cargo dwell time. What were the steps taken to make this possible?

Services like ITT (Inter Terminal Trailer) movement, Direct-to-Port services, encouraging modal shift of transport from road to rail, automation of regular procedures and digitisation of processes in order to avoid delays due to manual intervention, are some of the key steps taken at the port to enhance the efficiency and benefit the EXIM community.