Our country constitutes one of the largest peninsulas in the world having coastline extending over 7600 kilo meters. India has total 13 major ports out of which there are 12 government ports and 1 corporate port. The Port Blair was declared 13th major port of the country in the year 2010. There are 200 minor port and intermediate ports out of which some are privately owned. The ports are classified into major, minor or intermediate as per administrative signification.
The Indian Port Trust Board establishes in the year 1980 under the Major Port Trust Act, 1963 was inaugurated by the then government Minister for Shipping & Transport, Mr. A.P.Sharma. From that time NMPT Port started operating as the 10th Major Port Trust of the country along with other major port trusts.
Structure Of Ports In India
The Government of India administered all the important Indian ports of the country positioned in the Union list of the Indian constitution under the Indian Ports Act, 1908 and the Major Port Trust Act, 1963. The Government of India nominates a Board of Trustees comprises of responsible persons from government departments and public enterprises who are given authority to look after each major port. These Trust Act board members have little independent power and have to follow the policy matters and orders from the Government of India for port administrative issues.
The Government appoints Board of Trustees who associates with all the government offices involved in port operations, shipping company, agencies who are suppliers of labour and dock workers in ports, etc. thus administering port operations. These officials are more interested in defending jurisdiction rather commercial upgrading of ports. As per Trust Act the financial expending up to only Rs 5 billion is allowed to the trustee for any new work of replacement on the port. Other work operations required has to be separately carried. The ports still follow revenue accounting pattern instead of latest commercial accounting pattern.
Few Key Factors Responsible For Inadequate Performance Of The Indian Ports Are
- The ports are not well equipped to handle today’s new advanced cargo. They are incapable to deal with the particular classes of cargo of present time and find it difficult to adjust to these categories. Thus having position for only traditional cargo.
- Some ports are employed or put into service for new cargo and some are refused.
- The usage of port equipment is unsatisfactory due to their disused and inadequate maintenance.
- The Indian ports have excess staff but in terms of maintenance of cargo equipment and productiveness it is very insufficient.
The Indian central government controls seven shipyards. Similarly, two shipyards come under state government and there are nineteen shipyards which are privately owned. In the financial year 2005-2006 the major ports wielded 423.4 million tons of cargo and the largest being carried by the Vishakhapatnam, Kochi, Kolkata Port, Chennai and Kandla Port. The port performances have improved from the middle of the year 1990 and these major ports can together manage 400+ million tons of cargo per annum. The involvement of private companies in the service of ports is fast increasing though all major ports in India are controlled by the government except Ennore port.