Indian private ports outpacing state-run counterparts with Mundra at forefront

Adani Group owns the largest ports and logistics mandate with presence across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, anda minor share in the MPT Goaamong others

Ratings agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra)recently said that the growth of India’s port volumes has moderated, backed by a significant surge in the number of iron ores and containers. Interestingly, while government-run ports have been witnessing a decline, their private-run counterparts are showing resilient volume growth.The Mundra port by Adani Group is a prominent example of this transformation. .

Recently, the Mundra port overtook the state-run JNPT port to become the country’s largest container gateway after handling over 5.65 million TEUs(Twenty-foot equivalent units) in FY21.

With such private ports following close on the heels of the traditional strongholds, even state-run firms are struggling to keep up the pace.The move to seek business opportunities abroad by Dredging Corporation of India, the country’s biggest dredging contractor, is yet another stark example. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, CEO of Dredging Corporation, G.Y.V Victor, said that he considers private ports as a closed market in India that are giving tough competition to government ports.

Abhishek Nigam, associate director at India Ratings and Research, cites less turnaround time to be a major factor for this silent rise in private ports. “Major ports take as long as 23 hours sometimes to process imports and up to 77 hours for exports. Private port operators are able to turn around both at under 10 hours,” he said.

In addition to this, private players have been offering better mechanisation and are constantly working on their overall services to pull traffic towards their ports. Among these private port operators, Adani Group holds the largest mandate, with a minor share in MPT Goa and a major presence across its ports in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh. (Read: Adani Goa News)

APSEZ, the group’s key subsidiary, for one, has been enhancing its logistics, warehousing, storage and connectivity through road and rail to offer door-to-door services to its customers.Furthermore, it has been leading back-to-back acquisitions as well. Adani Group Goa project makes up for only around 10 per cent stake at MPT, with key shareholders being JSW and Vedanta. However, the stakes that it has acquired in other ports like Gangavaram and Krishnapatnamatnam, are quite substantial. Industry experts expect such marketing and acquisition strategies by the group to be replicatedby other private players too.

Currently, the capacity utilisation at Indian ports stands at around60 per cent mark. Hopefully, with more such private sector participations and the privatisation of ports, which the government has been envisioning for, the ports sector in India is expecting another transformation.

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