WASHINGTON: DP World group chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, has warned against India pursuing a strategy of greenfield port developments. Instead he believes that the country’s strategy should focus on upgrading existing ports and transport infrastructure. Last year, the Indian government launched its National Perspective Plan (NPP) featuring proposals for six to eight new ports, over 40 port-capacity enhancement projects and more than 80 port connectivity projects amongst others.
Sulayem stated: “DP World has invested in the development of five international gateway ports in India and we believe making ports more productive across the country rather than building more greenfield sites is the way forward.” “There is also a great need to reach internal markets, invest in cold storage facilities and networks, using coastal and inland waterways to increase efficiencies and lower costs,” he added. The Dubai-based terminal operator’s has facilities in India’s largest ports: Nhava Sheva, Mundra and Chennai. Potential ideas for ports mooted for India’s Sagarmala maritime strategy include Vadhavan in Maharashtra, which would act as a satellite port for Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) in Mumbai. Another proposal is for a port in Enayam in southern India, which would act as a transhipment hub competing with Colombo. “We are also looking for investment opportunities worth over US$1bn over the next few years offering our partners the opportunity to grow and expand their business,” added Sulayem. To date, DP World has invested US$1.2bn in India and supports more than 30% of the country’s container trade.