Research firm Dun & Bradstreet has suggested several steps, including ensuring transparency in shipping line charges and setting up of a common digital platform, to strengthen port logistics and boost trade. To achieve a target of 5 per cent share in world exports, India's exports need to grow at an average rate of over 26 per cent for the next five years and this would require increasing its product competitiveness. "Enhancing product competitiveness in the global market needs infrastructure for trade to improve, and ports are a critical part of trade infrastructure," the firm said in a statement. It has suggested over 60 policy inputs on areas such as operations, infrastructure and connectivity at ports. It has also recommended promotion of direct port delivery, direct port entry to facilitate container trade, enhance customs clearance, periodical performance audit, overhauling of physical infrastructure, rationalisation of documentation, and time frame for regulatory clearances. Further, according to the report, the average port logistics cost at the major bulk cargo ports on the east coast was found to be slightly higher as compared to the west coast. The three major findings are: processes and operations across the ports are not standardised or uniform, costs and time for key processes are unpredictable and there is an unacceptable level of variation across ports as well as within port, it said. It also added that port congestion, customs clearance, shipping line issues and charges, documentation and paperwork, and regulatory clearance are the most common problems across ports. "Shipping line charges account for the major share of cost (36 per cent), followed by detention and demurrage," the report said. It said that a port performance index was designed for all ports under study, which has covered 13 major ports including JNPT, Vizag, Kandla, Cochin and Chennai. "Looking at 13 major ports, 3 ports (JNPT, Kamarajar, Vizag) have received good score; 7 ports (including Paradip, Chennai and new Mangalore) have received average score and 3 (Haldia, Kolkata and MbPT) have received poor score," it added.
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