India’s total containerized cargo capacity of 8.75 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) at all its 12 major ports is less than a quarter of containerized goods handled at China’s single port of Shanghai, making it imperative for the country “to do a fast catching up”, noted India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce (ASSOCHAM) in a new report.
Though India’s ports have met in rapidly expanding traffic, handling more than a billion tonne of cargo in 2016-17 and the capacity is expected to increase to 2.5 billion tonnes by 2025, the freight mainly comprises POL (petrol, oil, and lubricant), coal, iron ore and other commodities.
Even on the parameter of overall cargo, both with or without containerization, India has a fragmented capacity at different ports. In China, there are six cargo ports which can handle over 500 million tonnes cargo per annum and it has another eight ports which handle cargo more than 100 million tonnes up to 500 million tonnes.
Commenting on the infrastructure in India, ASSOCHAM secretary general, Mr D.S. Rawat, commented that of the world’s top 20 ports, 14 are in China and there are no Indian port figures in the world’s top 20.