Ambivalence Over Indian Port Privatisation


Corporatisation of India’s major ports has evoked mixed reactions, with management welcoming the privatisation process and trade unions foreseeing loss of jobs.

Visakhapatnam Harbour and Port Workers’ Union and Visakhapatnam Port Employees’ Union fear that the corporatisation would lead to displacement of both permanent and indirect employees.

Visakhapatnam Port has already signed concession agreements with Essar Group for mechanisation and capacity augmentation of Ore Handling Complex, according to Hellenic Shipping News.

Rama Rao, Senior Trustee of Visakhapatnam Port, said: “Our apprehensions on corporatisation have come true though the process started long ago. The [PPP] investment itself is an initiative to convert the major ports into landlord ports within [the] next three years.”

In other news, the Indian government is working on a plan to transform 12 major ports in the country into ‘smart city’ ports at an estimated total cost of US$8 billion.

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