India is far behind in all the key performance indicators related to port-led development than China, says a report recently published by the Ministry of Shipping.
The report comes at a time when China in a bid to beat India in capturing wider space in the global economy has established linkage with Pakistan’s Gwadar port even as India prepares itself to access the Chabahar port in Iran.
Underlining India’s inability to optimize on it’s richly endowed maritime advantages in the last half a century, the report says that China leads India by a factor of seven times to 16 times on the measured parameters.
The report says that between ports and power production stations, India requires linkages that would optimize the cost of fuel transportation, a lack of which has caused high energy production cost. Energy costs 19 cents per kilo watt hour in India whereas it costs 11 cents per kilowatt hour in China.
Electricity production is also higher in China due to aggressive port-led development carried out by it in the recent past. When the neighboring nation produces 5,000 billion kilo watt hours of power, India generates only 1,000 billion kilowatt hours.
China fares seven times higher in number of petro-chemical crackers those have come up due to port-led development. The neighboring country has established as many as 46 petro-chemical crackers in comparison to only 7 in India.
Cheaper raw materials made possible by port-led development has triggered 823 million ton of steel production in China. In India raw materials travel long distances to production centres,which is time consuming, as a result of which the country produces only 87 million tons of steel.
For the same reason cement production is as high as 2,480 million ton per year in China due to port-led development and India lags behind at 280 million ton.
The report further says that, despite having 7,500 kilometres of coastline, none among the 200 Indian ports figure in the list of global top 20.
Lack of seamless connectivity high transportation costs in India in terms of both time and money.Export Import containers travel a distance of 700 to 1000 kilometres between production centre and ports in a stark contrast to 150 to 300 kilometres in China.
A container travels around 7 to 17 days from the hinterland to vessel as compared to 6 days in china.
Moreover, Indian ports are generally small where vessels of the size of 5,000 TEUs can call at, whereas in China the average size is 12,000 TEUs. This has led to increase in transshipment cost for India.
The report says that 25 percent of transshipment is carried in Singapore and Srilanka, resulting to a huge loss in business.
Even as India coughs up 14 percent of it’s GDP in freight expenditure, only Yangtze river system in China equipped with as many as 92 ports and 13 waterways generates a whopping 20 percent of the country’s GDP.
This very study done by Ministry of Shipping underlines what it takes to be a economic power house that China is.
The much talked about Sagarmala project initiated by the ministry of Shipping aims at plugging these lacunas in India’s coastal and inland transport system by a multi-pronged approach.