Connectivity is one of the critical enablers for ports and the end-to-end effectiveness of the logistics system drives competitiveness for the maritime industry as well. With infusion of new technology and capacity building, the cumulative/ total capacity available at ports can match demand but will not be able to handle additional traffic if the evacuation to and from the port is restricted. It is, therefore, important that connectivity of major ports with the hinterland is augmented not only to ensure smooth flow of traffic at the present level but also to meet the requirements of projected increase in traffic.
India's hinterland connectivity is mainly based on surface transport i.e. road and rail, wherein, domestic waterways (coastal shipping and inland waterways) playing a very limited role. Pipelines are predominantly used only for transporting crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas.
In India, smooth connectivity to ports is even more important as the cargo generating centers are mainly in the hinterland instead of in the coastal region. The long lead distance increases the logistics cost and time variability within which the cargo can be delivered.
Under Sagarmala Programme, endeavor is to provide enhanced connectivity between the ports and the domestic production/consumption centres. More than 235 connectivity projects at an estimated investment of more than Rs. 2.35 Lac Crore have been identified. Some of the types of connectivity projects considered are listed below:
- National waterways prioritized for development in the first phase
- Connectivity to Dedicated freight corridors
- Last mile rail and road connectivity projects
- Major rail connectivity projects
- Freight friendly Expressway projects connecting the major ports
- Development of Multi-Modal Logistics Parks
- POL Pipelines