India’s Minister of Shipping Calls for Use of IT in Port Ops

Image Courtesy: JNPT

India’s Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has released a report on modernization of port systems calling for use of information technology (IT) to improve the efficiency of the country’s ports. 

The minister said that India’s port authorities need to take more active roles to catch up with new trends in port strategies that are emerging around the world.

The report, entitled “Next Generation Port Infrastructure – Technology Transformation for Integrated Port Operations”, contains recommendations of a task force appointed by the ministry to prepare a robust IT transformation document, defining a long-term strategic roadmap and implementation plans.

The team was also required to study the present state of IT adoption levels and suggest measures that can be taken to reform and modernize the entire ports system.

The main focus of the task force has been to provide a structure for developing and implementing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies in India, given the fact that there are many countries today whose applications of such technologies for solving transportation problems have reached a fairly advanced level.

In India, the development of ITS solutions is “at a fairly nascent stage”, happening in an ad-hoc manner at the moment and resulting in different standards and stages of implementation. The overall outcome of such implementation is not substantially productive, the ministry said.

Some of the major recommendations of the task force include creation of an ITS department, development of ITS architecture, standards and protocols that could help in structuring investments in transportation and delivering safe and effective transportation.

In addition, the task force recommended creation of Smart Ports, which would enable optimization of space, personnel and traffic, as well as of Single Window System, which would help in reducing transaction costs and logistics costs related to the movement of cargo.

The report also includes technology implementation at the gates for processing, setting up an innovation/R&D fund, and standardization of messages, protocols, standards and processes which would help in operational efficiency, increasing productivity parameters of ports operations.

The country’s minister said that the efficiency of Indian ports has improved greatly over the last two years and that the performance of government ports in the country has been better than private ports this year.

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