Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Absence of FSSAI laboratories at Indian ports hampering trade: BRIEF

A BRIEF study says frequent breakdowns in custom electronic data systems and shortage of round-the-clock functioning container freight stations hampering growth of Indian ports

New Delhi: The absence of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) laboratories at Indian ports is one of the major hurdles that is hampering trade. It not only delays the entry and exit of products but also leads to increased logistic costs.

Apart from it, frequent breakdowns in the Custom Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems and shortage of round-the-clock functioning container freight stations were among the key factors hampering the growth of the Indian ports.

These were some of the highlights of a comparison study of select ports in India which was released by the Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF), an economic research organisation, on Wednesday.

The study was undertaken for nine ports across the country and analysed the performance of ports in the last five years along with visits to them.

These included Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Maharashtra), Paradip Port Trust (Odisha), Haldia Dock Complex (West Bengal), Cochin Port Trust (Kerala) and Attari Integrated Check Post, Punjab. The report points out various deficiencies on each port and specific patterns of issues based on their demographies, capacity, operational aspects and measures to resolve them.

The report ‘Bridging infrastructural deficits at select trade ports in India’ funded by British High Commission said that port capacity and traffic handled by various land and sea ports in the country have remained under-utilised for the last five years and the gap between traffic handling capacity and the actual traffic handled is still wide.

The reports said that India needs to have a user information website for import data, which is a data pool for importers to look up relevant products imported in the previous three months as well as clearance related to documentation and procedures required for the same. Moreover, clearance of part-shipment cargo was also required as it was one of the major causes of increased dwell time of cargo.

It suggested that there is a necessity for more round-the-clock functioning container freight stations to reduce congestion at the ports and provide for faster clearance to cargo. Encouragement of self sealing and factory stuffing of containers at all ports is one of the habits, BRIEF says, needs to be developed in India.