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  • The past two years have been quite eventful for the Indian port sector, particularly with regard to technology deployment at both the major and non-major ports.
  • The replacement of manual forms by web-based e-forms, introduction of direct port delivery, installation of container scanners, and radio frequency identification (RFID)-based systems for gate automation, paperless transactions, digitisation of land records, automation of issuance of delivery orders,launch of single-window interface for facilitating trade (SWIFT), integration of more seaports with port community systems (PCS) are some of the major initiatives that have been taken. Increasing automation has also led to an enhanced focus on developing smarter, green and sustainable ports.
  • The adoption of new technologies is being driven by the need to improve operational efficiency and customer service, as well as to increase utilisation of the existing infrastructure. Launched in 2015, the government’s flagship programme, Sagarmala, also ranks modernisation and ease-of-doing business as its key components.
  • However, when compared to the global scenario, Indian ports are still at a nascent stage of technology adoption. Driven by cost and performance efficiencies,foreign ports are extensively using cloud computing, internet of things (IoT), big data, robotics, video analysis, wireless RF, port information management systems, drones, 3D printing and sensor technologies.
  • Factors such as the shortage of trained and skilled manpower for operating advanced equipment, a general reluctance to adopt new technologies, strict labour laws, the presence of old and obsolete equipment and server issues are impacting the pace of technology uptake at Indian ports.
  • Nevertheless, going forward, Indian ports offer significant opportunities for technology and equipment providers. To capitalise on the opportunity, a timely review of ease-of-doing business at ports needs to be taken to adapt to the changing industry requirements. To bring down the turnaround time for ships,rakes and trucks, green channels can be made available at the ports. The government can also look at standardising technology implementation rules at Indian ports, both major and non-major.
  • The mission of this conference is to identify the challenges, opportunities and future potential for modernisation, mechanisation and digital transformation in the port sector. It will also showcase the latest innovations and the most promising and relevant technologies for Indian ports.
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