India kicks off investment summit with port focus

India kicks off investment summit with port focus

DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

India has kicked off a major investment summit to find backers for 40 projects involving a total investment of Rs. 85,000 crore (approximately $13 billion), many of which are part of the country’s Sagar Mala port modernization program.

Domestic and foreign conglomerates, including DP World, which has pledged to invest $1 billion in port-related infrastructure in the emerging Asian economy are attending the three-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 conference. Investment proposals at the summit cover port modernization, port connectivity, express highways, port-led industrialization, and coastal community development.

“Projects have been identified for capacity augmentation at existing ports, especially Kandla, to meet the future growth in cargo volumes. These include mechanization of cargo handling process, development of multi-purpose berths, and setting up of barge and coastal jetty to name a few,” an official statement said.

Port-related rail development proposals include a plan to connect the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, which is meant to speed up freight movements between India’s northern hinterland points and west coast gateways such as the ports of Hazira, Pipavav, and Mundra.

Eyeing the potential for investment in Gujarat and elsewhere, DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the investor conference.

“We are reinforcing our commitment to economic development through our operations in the country, where we have invested $1.2 billion to date, supporting over 30 percent of India’s container trade,” the global operator said. “Being one of the strongest emerging economies in the world, it offers immense potential for growth in maritime and inland trade.”

Moving forward, the company is keen to develop cold storage facilities and intra-coastal waterway systems to increase supply chain efficiencies and lower operating costs in the country.

Currently, DP World holds six port concessions in India, which include terminal facilities at the ports of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Chennai, Cochin (Vallarpadam), Mundra, and Visakhapatnam. Its flagship Mundra International Container Terminal handled 1.1 million twenty-foot-equivalent units for the first time in 2016, despite weaker global demand.