Maritime buzzword in AP

Maritime buzzword in AP
Highlights

The unique marine policy aiming to promote the coast line aims to make the state as the gateway for the vast hinterlands of the whole country. Also maritime board, which is on the anvil, is projected to explore and promote investments and plan for the infrastructure development of the coastal belt on PPP mode in the consultation with all the stakeholders.

Maritime trade is the buzzword today, after information technology and internet explosion. And AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has rightly picked it up for exploitation of the potential in the residual Andhra Pradesh for revenue generation after bifurcation of the united state. In the drive to identify effective growth engines, Naidu looks to its long coast line (about 970 and odd kilometres) to have a leapfrog presence in the global logistics map. With the new marine policy in hand, the state government is aiming to attract investments in the area of infrastructure, which will have a cascading effect on state revenues, employment and empowerment in coastal villages and towns where urban infrastructure and technology are yet to percolate

Projected as the Sun-rise state, the residual Andhra Pradesh is blessed with natural harbours along its huge coast line on the East-Coast and is poised to become the multi-model logistic hub for India. Having Visakhapatnam Port and Dugarajapatnam, which has been identified for promotion Asia’s major port by the central government, and a host of 14 other minor ports short listed for rejuvenation, some already operational under private sector, the state officials are hopeful of raising huge investments globally for the proposed logistic business activity.

The unique marine policy aiming to promote the coast line aims to make the state as the gateway for the vast hinterlands of the whole country. Also maritime board, which is on the anvil, is projected to explore and promote investments and plan for the infrastructure development of the coastal belt on PPP mode in the consultation with all the stakeholders.

“Now the buzz word is logistics. We have the potential to become the logistics hub of India which will not only boost the nation’s economy but also create thousands of jobs,” Chandrababu Naidu said recently. According to governmental estimates, “AP can capitalise on maritime trade, tourism and entertainment on water ways to the extent of Rs 13,550 crore per annum or Rs 37,000 crore over next five years”.

On the lines of Singapore and China
“When Singapore port can contribute 7 per cent of maritime trade to its GDP, the Andhra Pradesh can do more with its 14 ports,” comments AP Chief Minister. He wants the administration to take cue from Singapore Maritime University and other international institutions, besides China’s policy of ‘one belt, one road model’ of developing inland waterways for replication on coast line of Andhra Pradesh.

The state government is planning to develop inland waterways to become a leading state in cargo traffic in the country and targets to achieve about 10 per cent growth rate in the next 10 years. It aims to achieve 15 per cent share in cargo handling by 2019 and 25 per cent by 2025, according to AP port development mission.

Aquaculture to Maritime
In 1990s, AP hit headlines as a bowl of aquaculture and had accounted for over 80 per cent of the total seafood export of the country, particularly prawns to South East and Middle East countries. Now, roughly after two decades, the state is focusing largely on the logistic business to provide back bone facility to the massive infrastructure explosion projected with the flagship programs of Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor and PCPIR.

According to officials, now the focus would be on ‘Dugarajapatnam’ and ‘Bhogapuram’ towards development of logistics hub. While Dugarjapatnam will be developed as a port city, the Bhogapuram will be developed as aero city, both of which will be transport and logistics hubs on the East Coast and will compete with Kolkatta and Chennai which are presently pioneer logistics hubs staggering under huge burden laden with unprecedented backlogs.

In the process, as part of the Centre’s Sagar Mala project a parallel beach road from Ichhapuram to Tada covering Visakhapatnam and Kakinada is in first phase of execution. The AP Maritime Board which is underway aims to provide direction and also monitor all the logistics program of the state.

VPT, crown of maritime trade
Meanwhile, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has emerged as the crown of maritime trade of the country. Having facilities for handling deeper drafted vessels, the port is equipped with mechanised equipment for heavy cargo handling and offers lower vessel charges, besides providing adequate storage space.

VPT plans to set up a ‘plant quarantine laboratory’ in its own premises to enhance capacity to 125 MMTPA and also promote clean cargo terminals, develop multi-model logistic hubs and offer paperless, seamless and transparent transactions.

AP to forge maritime trade ties with Japan, Australia
Besides, the South East Asian countries, the Australia and Japan have come forward to forge new tie-ups with Andhra Pradesh government to roll out unique trade and ambitious infrastructure development projects. "Australia specialises in sustainable fisheries management and could work with AP in this sector," Australian Consul General in Chennai, Sean Kelly, said in his recent visit to Hyderabad.

Inland water ways development
As part of industrial infrastructure, the Andhra Pradesh government is focusing on inland waterways system initially by linking Kakinada-Pondicherry and Kakinada-Bhadrachalam to the nearby ports in order to launch heavy duty cargo service at low cost. The system will use rivers and sea as a logistic tool.

For instance, the government has already revived the Buckingham canal project. A comprehensive study was already been launched by Inland Waterways Authority of India, to understand the irrigation-cum-navigational canals in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

It would prepare a detailed project report (DPR) to revive 1,100 km-long canal system that runs through Yanam-Kakinada, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Vijayawada, Tenali, Nellore and Chennai. If everything goes well, it would revive Kakinada canal (50 km), Eluru canal (139 km), Krishna western delta canal in Guntur district (119 km), north Buckingham canal (316 km), south Buckingham canal (116 km) and Pondicherry canal (22 km).

It would offer a most cost effective mode for movement of heavy goods and become a backbone of the maritime and logistics hub for the state, say officials.

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