The three-day Maritime India Summit 2021 (March 2-4) concluded with great enthusiasm and fervour, also with new hope and abundant opportunities in the maritime sector. As India aims to emerge as a leading Blue Economy of the world, the summit saw MoU signings and investment opportunities.
On the first day, Mr Sanjay Sethi, IAS, Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, hosted the plenary session, Developing World Class Ports. The Summit was held with the objective of unveiling ample opportunities in the maritime sector. It also propelled India to the forefront of the global maritime industry as it hosted forums for interaction and collaboration with Indian and international ports, shipping and maritime companies, investors and other stakeholders. MIS 2021 provided a powerful platform for international collaboration and helped bring in partner countries for mutual exchange of knowledge and opportunities.
Mr Sethi shared his thoughts on the importance of developing mega ports with world class infrastructure, developing smart ports to improve Ease of Doing Business, and the impact of digitisation of ports and terminals. During his session, he spoke about how the maritime industry will evolve over the coming years increasing the importance for both public and private players to develop an ecosystem and formulate policies and strategies to prepare for it. He elaborated in brief on the impact of digitisation of ports and terminals AI, IoT, 5G-led transformation and evolving models for port development such as PPP and landlord model.
The JNPT Chairman was also one of the conveners for the 5th Plenary Session on Port-led Industrialization: Building Port Cities and Maritime Clusters. Here he highlighted the importance of leveraging the port ecosystem for industrialisation, and the port cities transition processes in metropolitan port development. Considering the significance of maritime infrastructure to Indias economy and to leverage Indias natural maritime advantages, the government has crafted the vision of Sagarmala and is pushing for port-led industrialisation, it was pointed out.
Mr Unmesh Sharad Wagh, IRS, Deputy Chairman, JNPT was part of the third session, panel discussion on Port-Led Sustainable Development in Maharashtra The Way Forward. He highlighted how the maritime industry has seen rapid growth in the last few years due to increased planned outlay of the government, improved infrastructure facilities, greater access to global markets, and initiatives like port-led industrialisation under Sagarmala. He also highlighted how JNPT-SEZ is expected to generate Rs 4,000 crore worth of investments, create 57,000 direct jobs, and generate total employment with multiplier effect to the tune of 150,000, facilitating substantial employment opportunity once fully occupied. JNPT-SEZ aims to slash cost, help in moving goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively to increase the competitiveness of the sector. With the initiative of port-based SEZ, the hinterlands of JNPT are being industrialised and this is prompting an economic transformation. During the panel discussion, Mr Wagh also highlighted why Vadhvan Port will be a game changer for the maritime industry in India.
Over 30 MoUs inked
JNPT signed over 30 MoUs with potential investors for port projects, technology transfer and development of plots in JNPT-SEZ for an amount of around Rs 27,000 crore. On behalf of JNPT, the MoUs were signed by Mr Sanjay Sethi, in the presence of Mr Unmesh Wagh. Companies such as DP World, JM Baxi, Ganesh Benzo, BPCL, NITIE, SSG Pharma, Sooraj Agro, JWR Logistics and Cineline India signed MoUs for manufacturing, IT services, warehousing/cold storage, FTWZ, pharma, confectionary manufacturing, engineering services and food processing to strengthen port-led industrialisation at JNPT.
Ports play a crucial role in reforming Indias economy, aiding in achieving development goals and establishing the country as a strategic trade hub. JNPT has systemically invested in enhancing its operational efficiency, technological advancements and innovations to enable seamless trade. This will unlock new avenues of prosperity for the ex-im community and the stakeholders and help JNPT become the Port of Choice for the ex-im trade, emphasised a release.