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India needs more cargo than ports: DP World Chief

“There are more ports in India right now, than cargo; which is not good,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told ET over a luncheon where he praised the city’s Mughlai street food.

, ET Bureau|
Feb 20, 2018, 08.03 AM IST
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DP World is currently in talks with various potential partners and has expressed interest in developing river transportation and warehousing facilities.
MUMBAI: What India needs now is more cargo than more port facilities, says the group chairman of DP World, the UAE-based port operator that recently joined hands with National Infrastructure Investment Fund to create a fund to invest up to $3 billion.

“There are more ports in India right now, than cargo; which is not good,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told EThere over a luncheon where he praised the city’s Mughlai street food. “You should have more production facilities, more logistic and infrastructure facilities rather than (just) ports,” he said. Sulayem is in India to attend the 'Magnetic Maharashtra' investors summit in Mumbai. He said the success of Make in India initiative will determine how much port capacity the country needs.

Sulayem also said DP World’s investment platform in partnership with National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), a sort of sovereign fund, will look to streamline the supply chain after cargo leaves the port. “Our terminal in India is really modern but our problem is, once the cargo leaves the gate it is not in our hands and that is what is costing India a lot of money,” he said.

DP World is currently in talks with various potential partners and has expressed interest in developing river transportation and warehousing facilities. DP World, which is majority owned by the Dubai government, has six port concessions in India, including two in Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

With JNPT welcoming a new terminal player, PSA International-run Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals on Sunday, the DP World-APM Terminals (run by AP Moller-Maersk Group) stronghold at JNPT is likely to be challenged. Sulayem expressed hope that the tariffs they are subjected to are the same. “Competition doesn't scare us, but we would like it to be under the same tariff,” he said.

The tariff that DP World charges its customers was finalised in 2005 by Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP). It is revised every three years. But tariffs could be different for different terminals on the same port, depending on their starting date and the model followed to decide tariffs. Counting it as one of the problems that the company could wish away, Sulayem said rationalisation of tariffs across terminals would be a welcome move.

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