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NEW DELHI : India is aiming to increase its supply chain efficiency and lower logistics costs to achieve its well-defined goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025, Minister for Ports, Shipping, Waterways and Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal said on Wednesday.

Addressing the virtual CII Partnership Summit 2021, the minister said that India has one of the largest supply chain and logistics sectors in the world growing at a fast pace. An efficient logistics ecosystem is thought to be a catalyst for improving the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy.

Sonowal said his ministry has prepared a blueprint - Maritime India Vision 2030 (MIV 2030)-- to ensure coordinated and accelerated growth of India’s maritime sector in the next decade with the objective of propelling India to the forefront of the Global Maritime Sector.

He said MIV 2030 has identified initiatives such as developing world-class mega ports, transshipment hubs and infrastructure modernization of ports. These initiatives would help in lowering overall operational costs of ports, reducing turnaround time for vessels, increasing efficiency and throughput, providing ability to handle larger ships and developing Indian port’s strategic importance in the South Asian region.

The minister added that MIV 2030 envisions an overall investment of 3 to 3.5 lakh crore across ports, shipping, and inland waterways categories. He said this roadmap is estimated to help unlock over 20,000 crore worth of potential annual revenue for Indian ports. Further, it is expected to create an additional 20 lakh plus jobs (direct and indirect) in the Indian maritime sector.

With a long coastline spanning 7,500 km and extensive navigable inland waterways, the country provides an excellent opportunity to tap environment-friendly water-based modal transport, which can complement rail and road-based cargo movement in the country.

He also highlighted that the infrastructure development plans, such as Bharatmala and Dedicated Freight Corridors, are at various phases of execution. Regulatory and administrative innovations such as E-paperless Sanchit's EXIM trade process, Turant Customs' faceless assessment, and the implementation of a required electronic toll collection system- FASTag have further aided the logistics sector's efficiency.

The minister said the priorities also include the use of clean and renewable energy sources, along with augmentation of related infrastructure for trade and tourism. The maritime vision includes setting up smart ports, creation of a Maritime Development Fund with a corpus of 25000 crore ($3.36 billion), and the establishment of a pan-India port regulatory authority. He also informed that his ministry is actively working on increasing India’s shipbuilding capacity as well as ship repair infrastructure.

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