Dry ports: A welcome step

Srinagar: The government on Wednesday announced to setup dry port facility in the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar. The development has come at a time when a high-level delegation of the Dubai Ports Group led by its Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem paid a visit to Jammu and met the Chief Minister besides the state’s Finance minister and various other officials.

The inland Logistic Hub in Jammu and Srinagar is to be established with maiden foreign direct investment of around Rs 1500 crores by ‘Dubai Ports’, would include two dry ports, warehouses, cold storage chain, controlled atmospheric stores and supply chain to transport commodities and products including horticulture and agriculture produce, handicrafts and industrial products from the state directly to the markets throughout the world.

The announcement of setting up the port facilities no doubt is a welcome step as the state’s economy is battling to come out of the various setbacks it has suffered over the past few years.

A major problem for the state’s economy is high cost of transportation of goods and products. Our agricultural produce, fruit, handicrafts and industrial products find their place in the markets after the growers or producers load these products in trucks and get them available at various locations in India. However, the exercise is not cost efficient and the cost has a telling effect on the prices of the products.

If the state gets a dry port and cold chain facility here the commodities can move through an integrated transport chain. This will bring down the cost of transportation by 20 percent to 25 percent giving major flip to the state’s economy.

The inland port or multimodal logistics centre, is an inland terminal connected to a seaport by rail or road. It serves as trans-shipment point in transport of export/import goods and is named so because it is very similar to a seaport in services it offers except that it is not near a sea.

What is more heartening is that one of the world’s best ports is establishing these ports-that means the best state of art facilities and technology will be made available to deal with the goods that are to be transported through these ports.

Dubai Ports is operating 78 marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets.

The company owns 6 marine terminals and 6 goods trains in India and two marine terminals in Pakistan. It has also marine terminals in China, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and USA.

Though the modalities are being worked out for establishing these ports, the state government has to initiate work on other front as well. Just yesterday the state’s major trade body (JCCI) called for establishing peace in the state so that the trade and tourism sector gets some breather to come out of the jolts it has suffered over the past years.

The government besides, working overtime to setup the dry port facilities needs to work on the ground and ensure that a peaceful and safe environs are provided for such facilities to work and operate. Then only will they serve the purpose they have been established for.




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