The news about Paradip port’s global tender to build coal and iron ore berths adds at first glance to the sentiment of heightened activity on the country’s water front. Is the picture behind the scenes as promising?
Over the past couple of years, Paradip port has tried, in vain, to convince South Korean company Posco to set up facilities in the existing port for serving its steel plant nearby. While a number of cost-related factors suggest this makes much sense, Posco prefers to invest in a new, captive port instead at Jatadhari close by.
Why? Is there a continuing lack of trust in the competitive ability of public sector providers, say, in timely delivery of projects? Or is it to do with crucial evacuation linkages? Setting up or managing ports is one thing, moving the imported shipments to destinations another. One is reminded of past experiences such as with JNPT, Mumbai, and Chennai port in connecting the high seas to the factory.