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India Lacks Port Infrastructure Making World’s Biggest Vessel Ever Alot Skip Its Docks, Hurting Trade Opportunities
The Ever Alot recalled as the largest boxship in the world, docked not in India, but in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, in a blow to the nation’s trade goals. It is the poor shipping infrastructure and links that have hurt India’s rank in the port and shipping value chain index. Ever Alot is 400 meters long and can compete with Empire State Building as far as its length is considered, with a capacity of more than 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a journey to make India a world factory, the country lacks the port infrastructure to attract large container ships to its docks.
Malaysia and Sri Lanka have both earned the honor to have been visited by Ever Alot. But the Indian coast harbors are not deep enough to accommodate bigger vessels as Ever Alot. Even the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the nation’s biggest container handling facility run by the state, does not have the 17-meter draft to navigate such vessels. Mundra Port though having such a facility, and being run by Gautam Adani, a billionaire, has been skipped. In January 2022, Mundra Port docked 17,292-TEU APL Raffles ...
... with 13,159 TEUs on board.
According to a director at Drewry Maritime Advisors, Shailesh Garg, ultra-large ships help with economies of scale but improvement in the vessel size is not the only factor to speed the movement of goods. Along with that, the country needs to improve building rail and road links from ports to factories, shops, and warehouses. The RBI in its report on the global value chain had reported that India scored 34% in contrast to 45.9% in the GVC participation Index for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, while Vietnam’s score was over 50% in the gauge.
Because of the weak infrastructure, Modi’s target to increase the manufacturing share from 14% to 25% of gross domestic product and enhance the country’s position in the global goods exports by 2027 to 3% and by 2047 to 10%, seems bleak with current statistics of 2.1%. Mundra Port is one of the highest-ranking for performance and has the 48th rank in an index compiled by two major groups. But India is still falling back in port-related trade due to insufficient facilities and connectivity.
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