A dedicated board for maritime development will be a game-changer giving a fillip to port-led development in 974-km long coastline of Andhra Pradesh, the second largest after Gujarat.
Stakeholders in the logistics sector feel that following success story of cluster model of China and big push received after formation of maritime board in Gujarat is the right approach being adopted by the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government.
“The decision to set up AP Maritime Board with its headquarters in Visakhapatnam will give a boost to port-led development,” an official of Visakhapatnam Port Trust told.
He pointed how the development of Guangzhou, Yangjiang and Zhanjiang ports had led to massive industrialisation in China.
The government feels that the State has the plus point of fostering an industrial ecosystem given the trove of natural resources, long coastline and skilled manpower. It hopes that the State with its long coastline can become the gateway to South East Asia and its strategic location close to domestic consumption centres such as Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Mumbai is a big advantage.
Though the board proposal was mooted for several years, it has not seen the light of the day for various reasons.
Besides Visakhapatnam Port, the third largest major port in the country, the State has 14 non-major ports (popularly called as minor ports) for development under the control of the Director of Ports located in Kakinada.
“The board will ensure focused development with proper regulations and clearance at local level hastening the process for accelerated growth. The logistics sector, which is the prerequisite for development will also get a shot in the arm,” Sravan Shipping Services Managing Director G. Sambasiva Rao said.
‘Dream come true’
“It’s a dream come true. It will help not just economically but also in ensuring safety of small crafts which do not have any regulation preventing incidents like recent Godavari boat tragedy,” A.V. Monish Row, former president of Vizagapatam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said the foremost task of the board should be to strengthen port infrastructure, PPP and privatisation policies, development of inland corridors and transport hubs, marketing and promotion of the Maritime University, sea, river tourism and orderly growth of maritime infrastructure.