The government's increased focus on port infrastructure and through budget and Sagar Mala programme has opened new growth avenues for port equipment industry and is looking forward to a brighter future in India.
In spite of the vast coastline and many major and non-major ports along this coastline, the cargo handling at Indian ports is yet to show its strength compared with other major maritime nations worldwide. This has laid a big opportunity for the ports in India for future growth. As per estimates, cargo traffic in 2017 at major ports is expected to reach 943.1 MMT. Meanwhile, the cargo traffic in 2017 at non-major ports is expected to reach 815.2 MMT.
The country's major ports handled a combined traffic volume of 647.43 million tonnes during 2016-17, registering an annual growth rate of 6.79 per cent, as against a growth of 4.32 per cent in FY 2015 -16. The major ports recorded the highest ever capacity addition of 100.37 MT in 2016-17, thereby raising the total capacity to 1,065 MT per annum, as against a capacity of 965.36 MT per annum in 2015-16. Says Sanjay Saxena, Vice President, Heavy Equipment Business Unit, SANY Heavy Industry India Pvt Ltd, 'According to the Ministry of Shipping, around 95 per cent of India's trading by volume and 70 per cent by value is done through maritime transport. India has 12 major and 200 notified minor and intermediate ports. With the growing demand for container handling facility in India, the port capacity has grown over the past decade. During the period 2002-14, the container handling capacity at Indian ports increased at a CAGR of 11 per cent, from 5.2 million TEU in 2002 to 19.5 million TEU in 2014. However, the capacity on the west coast of India grew faster at a CAGR of 12 per cent during this period compared to 10 per cent on the east coast.'
The government has taken several measures to improve operational efficiency through mechanisation, deepening the draft and speedy evacuations. Meanwhile the private ports recorded a traffic growth rate of 4 per cent during the period. On the current performance of Indian ports, MC Sureshkumar, Managing Director, Cargotec India Pvt Ltd, says, 'The current cargo throughput looks positive and we see increasing role of private sector players as a positive for the ports sector. Especially in container volumes with which our business is associated, we see increasing volumes in future.'
According to Sureshkumar, the stable government and taxation reforms are conducive to development of the country and with GDP at around 7 per cent India is poised for positive changes in living standards. He adds, 'The Government of India continued efforts in ease of doing business in India resulting in many initiatives being taken to increase trade with programmes like Invest India, relaxation in FDI in may sectors, automatic approvals for FDI, Sagarmala Project, Inland Waterways development, coastal shipping, direct port delivery, GST implementation etc, all point towards increasing cargo throughput in near future as manufacturing and trade will increase in India. We expect the container volumes to continuously grow. The increasing standards in living in both urban and rural India will result in increased container volumes for both internal and external trade due to increase in movement of goods to meet the demands of the population.'
Saxena says, 'Increasing investments and cargo traffic point towards a healthy outlook for the Indian ports sector. Providers of services such as operation and maintenance (O&M), pilotage and harbouring, and marine assets such as barges and dredgers are benefiting from these investments. The capacity addition at ports is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5-6 per cent till 2022, thereby adding 275-325 MT of capacity.'
The Budget 2017-18 has given substantial support to the ports sector with investment plans to new projects and expansion of existing port infrastructure. Says Sureshkumar, 'The budget has been positive for the sector with emphasis on developing the infrastructure through various schemes like Make in India, Sagarmala Project, DMIC, etc which are all helpful in positive outlook for Indian port sector.'
Equipment market bullish
Port equipment players are keen on the development that is ongoing in Indian ports as the government is undertaking many port infrastructure development projects to increase the handling capacity at major ports. Private port operators are also setting up new facilities as well as improving existing infrastructure to enhance handling capacity. Recently, SANY received a major order from the largest container port of India JNPT for port cranes. Saxena elaborates, 'Our major milestone was the order for electrically operated gantry cranes (ERTGCs) from JNPT, where we have supplied six units of ERTGCs to JNPT while delivery of another nine units is in process.' Followed by this the company has also launched its two new-generation reach stackers, SRSC45H1 and SRSC45H2.
Recently, the PSA International-operated container terminal at JN Port, Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT), received its first batch of three super-post panamax quay cranes in the lead-up to its planned start of operations at the end of 2017. A second batch of three quay cranes will be delivered in September 2017, with six more quay cranes being delivered during 2018 and 2019. BMCT will also be receiving 18 rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) during 2017 to provide efficient yard operations, whilst the four rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) arriving in September 2017 will be able to handle multiple 1.5 km long double-stack Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) trains, a unique capability amongst container terminals in India. The Haldia Dock Complex at Kolkata Port has, a few months back, received Gottwald mobile harbour cranes from Terex Port Solutions (now belongs to Konecranes) for handling coal, coke, manganese ore and limestone. More equipment acquisitions are on the anvil with new port facilities coming up and terminal expansion plans going on.
Sagar Mala project
According to the Shipping Ministry source, under Sagarmala Programme, 415 projects, at an estimated investment of approximately Rs 8 lakh crore, have been identified across port modernisation and new port development, port connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialisation and coastal community development for phase wise implementation over the period 2015 to 2035. As per the approved implementation plan of Sagarmala Programme, these projects are to be taken up by the relevant Central Ministries/Agencies and State Governments preferably through private/PPP mode. As part of the Sagarmala Programme, six new port locations have been identified - Vadhavan, Enayam, Sagar Island, Paradip Outer Harbour, Sirkazhi and Belekeri.
The government has taken steps for port modernisation and development of new ports. Sureshkumar explains, 'Considering that under Sagarmala project there are 3-4 major ports planned to be developed, we see continuous demand of port equipment in the years to come. Further, all the existing ports would also plan for upgrading their old equipment to keep up the productivity.'
The introduction of GST will play a major role in logistics and transportation, which will boost the cargo movement and the prospects of cargo handling equipment. 'The GST has opened up consolidation in the logistics sector and we expect large business consolidating their distribution networks and improving productivity and efficiency.
The DPD will contribute to major benefits to the user industries. The resultant reduction in logistics costs will help the consumers in India. These changes do open up opportunities for our heavy duty forklift business in future,' observes Sureshkumar.
On the emerging trends of port infrastructure development, Saxena says, 'Under the Sagarmala Programme, the government has envisioned a total of 189 projects for modernisation of ports involving an investment of Rs 1.42 trillion ($22 billion) by 2035. The Ministry of Shipping has set a target capacity of over 3,130 MMT by 2020, which would be driven by participation from the private sector. Non-major ports are expected to generate over 50 per cent of this capacity.'
If the port expansion plans and infrastructure development activities go as anticipated, surely there is going to be a new momentum in the acquisition of new range of advanced cargo handling equipment in the coming years, which will definitely perk up the prospects of equipment players.
- Sudheer Vathiyath