Date: 25/11/2022

PM Gati Shakti Multimodal Maritime Summit 2022 in Kolkata deliberates on connectivity to  the North-East & eastern neighbours

A two-day summit on Prime Minister’s Gati Shakti Multimodal Maritime Plan 2022 was inaugurated in Kolkata on Wednesday under the aegis of Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata (SMP Kolkata), in association with FICCI. Addressing the summit, Mr Shantanu Thakur, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Govt of India, said that SMP Kolkata, India’s oldest port, has a strategic location for connectivity to the North-East and to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. “The port has immense potential which can be further harnessed through PM’s Gati Shakti Plan. Seamless multimodal connectivity to the North-East states is an important catalyst for economic growth and port-led industrialisation,” he added.
Joining the inaugural session as Special Guest, Mr Gopal Krishna, Principal Program Advisor of Cross Border Infrastructure and Connectivity Program (CBIC), USAID and Former Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, said, “Gati Shakti is a much needed catalyst for growth in our country which will allow for holistic development of industries and infrastructure in India. The government’s initiatives to create access to transparent and comprehensive data for the industry is an unprecedented step for the all-round development and creation of infrastructure which will immensely help the private players to partake in the opportunities created by India’s growth story”.
Mr Shambhu Singh, former Special Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), shared the benefits of the Gati Shakti Plan and the opportunities it would open for infrastructural growth of the country. He said, “Gati Shakti is a unique platform which would help in cutting time and cost delays and lead to better planning of resources which is critical for the economic prosperity of the country.” Ms Neerja Singh, Senior Director - Logistics, Infrastructure, FICCI, shared the industry perspective on PM Gati Shakti and the benefits that would accrue to the market as well as the citizens at large.
Mr P. L. Haranadh, Chairman, SMP Kolkata, said that the port, with its 150+ years of experience in handling ex-im cargo, has a key role in connecting the hinterland and North-East India through inland waterways. Bangladesh, in particular, is an important node through the IBP (Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route) and the opportunities created by waterways would result in a win-win situation for both India and Bangladesh by reducing cost and time delays and allowing for integrated connectivity for people and industry. He further said, “Gati Shakti is a transformative approach for a riverine port like SMP Kolkata which has huge potential in multimodality through waterways, rail and road. Creation of a unified platform integrating physical infrastructure with procedural simplification will be a game changer in planning and implementation of projects to provide competitive service delivery”. He further shared the connectivity vision of the port and the development plan in ‘Amrit Kaal’, with the port poised to have a capacity of 200+ MMT.
The Deputy Chairman of Haldia Dock Complex, Mr A. K. Mehera, presented a brief summary of the port plans and offered the vote of thanks. 
The inaugural session was followed by a technical session on demonstration of the PM Gati Shakti NMP Portal by BISAG–N and a session on port-rail connectivity. Veteran experts from Eastern Railway, Sagarmala Development Company, Pipavav Railway and others led the deliberations in these two sessions. The summit saw wide participation from various stakeholders and a healthy round of discussion with industry leaders.
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata is playing a key role in the strategic planning and development of integrated connectivity approach for creation of modern infrastructure. It is India’s only riverine port with 150+ years’ experience in ex-im handling and holds the unique advantage of rail, road and inland waterways connectivity, highlighted a release.
Source: Exim News Service: Kolkata, Nov. 24