GUWAHATI, Sept 7: The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has strengthened its operations and management function at its Pandu and Dhubri ports by engaging a private contractor with the aim to enhance cargo exports from Assam and the Northeast to Bangladesh and South Asia.
IWAI is the nodal agency of inland waterways in India under the Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.
The model is aimed at increasing the cargo movement of the existing 0.5 million metric tons of exports to 3 million metric tons from Assam and the Northeast. This new agreement is also likely to generate potential employment for 73,000 days per year during the tenure of the agreement.
This Public Private Partnership (PPP) model will bring in efficiency and perseverance from the private operations and management contractor to bring in cargo for export to both the Pandu and Dhubri ports, while the IWAI will provide the necessary guidance for smooth movement towards attaining its goal of 3 million MT of cargoes from these ports within the first two years.
The operation and management of the Pandu and Dhubri terminals are under absolute control of IWAI, though a private operator is being hired to increase the efficiency of the terminals and cargo movement on National Waterway-2 and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes. T
This model has proved bring efficacy in other ports like GR Jetty at Kolkata and Haldia terminal by improving performance of the ports and viability for unlocking trade potential in the region.
Speaking on the occasion, A Selvakumar, regional director (Pandu), (IWAI), said, “Neither the Pandu nor Dhubri port has been privatized. We have only engaged a specialist contractor who will be operating and managing the cargo from both the ports. The contractor was selected on the basis of competitive national bidding basis. Also, before tendering these terminals for operational and management a detailed study was also carried out to decide on the most appropriate transaction model.”
“We also held several discussions with the stakeholders and local operators at Pandu, Dhubri as well as other places. Based on the outcome of these discussions, the process of giving out the terminal on operation and management basis was initiated,” Selvakumar said.
The PPP model will help implement global best practices, which will unlock huge potential for trade enhancement in both Pandu and Dhubri ports. The various charges for loading and unloading of cargo were also decided with due consultation with the stakeholders and the rates were fixed by IWAI. These rates include advanced mechanical handling equipment to increase the efficiency of the loading and unloading of cargo at terminals.
The present system will usher in a more transparent and professional logistics system, sources said.