'Eliminate barriers in investment keep it simple!'
— Ganesh Raj, Senior Vice President & Managing
Director, DP World - Subcontinent Region
India has come a long way in container trade but much
still needs to be done for it to earn a respectable place on the world map.
Ganesh Raj talks to Venugopal Pillai about the bottlenecks that India
is facing and the road ahead, and DP World's plans to exploit the huge
In 2006-07, India handled around 6 million TEUs of
container traffic through over 15 terminals. This compares very poorly with
global standards where a single port like Antwerp (ranking No.12 in 2005)
handles comparable traffic. What do you perceive as the biggest constraints in
Indian container terminals?
One of India's biggest challenges is reducing bureaucracy to facilitate trade
and investment. India has come a long way, but there is still work to do to
break down barriers to trade and investment and expedite the process.
By 2012, what do you think will be India's total container handling capacity? Of
this, what would be DP World's share?
By similar growth in containerised traffic the container handling capacity
should be at least 30 per cent ahead of projected traffic. Assuming that traffic
potential in 2012 is 18-19 million TEUs, handling capacity should be around
23-24 million TEUs by conservative estimates. We will continue to participate in
this important market.
India has seen some important addition to container handling capacity in
recent years. Greenfield and brownfield projects are also under way. Are you
satisfied with the pace of capacity addition?
India has a population of around 1.1 billion people and around 7 million TEUs
were moved last year. China has a population of 1.3 billion and moved more than
100m TEUs! India has tremendous potential, one cannot be satisfied with this
Suggest three measures the government could take to improve private sector
participation in constructing new container terminal capacities.
I would say: Eliminate Barriers in investment in this sector by keeping it
simple; encourage free market pricing by focus on creating capacity and
minimising regulation; and ensure fast-track project implementation - conception
Speaking about DP World, what has been the growth of container traffic during
During 2007-08 (April to March), DP World handled a total of 3.665 million TEUs
through its five terminals that was nearly 20 per cent higher than 3.065 million
TEUs handled in the previous year.
The Vallarpadam ICTT of DP World Kochi is amongst the biggest marine
infrastructure projects currently under way in India. What is the current status
of the project?
The ICTT is being developed in three phases. Civil works for commissioning
phase-1A in November 2009 is in progress at the Vallarpadam Special Economic
Zone in Kerala. The current phase will see the development of 600m of quay
length, 3,500 ground slots, 450 reefer plugs, rail handling facility, national
highway connectivity and a draft of 14.5 metres alongside. The progress of the
works is quite satisfactory. The rail and road connectivity works are also
progressing satisfactorily as of now. The design capacity of phase-1A is 1
million TEUs. In its final phase, the design capacity will be enhanced to 3
The greenfield Kulpi port project in West Bengal, which has been in proposal
stage for several years, is now seen moving. What is the current status of this
Discussions are on for finalisation of the agreement with Kolkata Port Trust.
Kulpi will primarily be a feeder port for containerised and general cargo. The
strategy is to secure direct call intra-Asia vessels with significantly reduced
transit time and a modern, well-equipped, cost-effective option for the region.
Kulpi port will have 8.5m draft alongside with broad tidal windows and will
ultimately have 900m quay line and 34 hectares of paved yard and a capacity of
1.35 million TEUs. The port will be connected to the national highway network of
the country through a new four-lane expressway and a new bridge across the
river, both of which are being developed by the state government.
Over the next five-seven years which new locations in India would DP World be
looking at for greenfield projects or inorganic growth?
We are committed to investing in India. We continue to explore opportunities and
can talk about our plans once they are confirmed.
By 2012, how much capital expenditure is DP World likely to incur in expanding
capacity at its terminals in India? By then, what would be DP World's total
container handling capacity in this country?
India needs enormous infrastructure developments to support its growth. In line
with our operating philosophy of always enabling capacity ahead of demand, we
will continue to seek workable options for expansions. We will work with our
stake holders in enabling these at the earliest.
Besides containerised cargo - its forte, is DP World exploring possibilities of
setting up general cargo facilities in India?
We always look beyond the terminal gate to provide customers with value adding
services - rail connections, business parks, etc. Our growth initiatives are
directly driven by our customers' needs.
[May 19-25, 2008]