Unlocking Port-led Economic Prosperity Experts speaking at the 10th edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit believe that creating a robust port ecosystem can go a long way in the economic development of the state and the country
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Over the years, the expansion of maritime capabilities has made Gujarat one of India's most developed maritime states. Three Coastal Economic Zones have been planned in the state under Sagarmala project i.e. Kachchh, Saurashtra and Suryapur.
Discussing this further, at the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, experts spoke about Gujarat serving as a model for the world.
Boosting blue economy
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said that the state with a 1,600 km long coastline, ranks first in the maritime industry and is becoming a leader in contributing to the 'blue economy' of the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also in the past spoken about investing in waterways.
"Ours is a government that is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before.We aim to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030. Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has created a list of 400 investable projects. These projects have an investment potential of $31 billion or Rs 2.25 lakh crores, & the Maritime India Vision 2030 outlines the priorities of the Government," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a statement by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2022.
Gujarat has the longest coastline in India and has thus played a key role in shaping global trade. Talking at VGGS 2024 about how India has made significant strides in the global maritime arena, Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister at the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said, "Port-based industrialization is a strategic approach that aims to optimize logistic costs by strategically placing industries in close proximity to ports. Not only does this model directly contribute to increased port traffic, but it also serves as a catalyst for significant employment generation. It is because of this significance under the port-led industrialization of the Sagarmala program launched by our honorable Prime Minister, overall 14 projects worth Rs 55,800 Crores have been identified for implementation. Of these, nine projects worth Rs 45,800 crores have been completed."
He also added that major ports have also undertaken an exercise of industrializing the land available with them. 8000 acres of land at the port have been developed for industrialization with the potential to generate more than two lakhs direct and indirect employment.
Push for port-led development
Overall, the seminar aimed to promote the transformative potential of port-led development in the urban system. "As a port what is it that you need to do? In logistics, there is one simple rule, which I think everybody knows. Time and distance are the two constraints for cost in logistics. It has to be fast enough. It has to be distance-wise close. Do you have a choice but not to have a port-led development? Because those days are gone. You cannot go to 2000 3000 kilometers and therefore you are going to see fundamentally a very, very major port-led development. To my mind, it is not a choice. It is a compulsion," said Krishna Kotak, chairman, JM Baxi Group.
Besides multiple discussions, the event also saw many Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed to give a further boost to port-led developments. DP World signed multiple MoUs worth US$3 billion with the Government of Gujarat to develop multi-purpose deep-draft ports, container terminals, SEZs and Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals in Gujarat. In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, exchanged MoUs around potential investments in Gujarat with M K Das, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat.