What are ‘Dry Ports’ and how can they help to mitigate logistic challenges in India? Also, discuss the challenges in their development and measures needed to address them.

Dry ports are inland ports which are connected to sea ports by multimodal transport networks enabling efficient export-import.

Significance:

  • Connects hinterland to ports.
  • Creates all round economic development.
  • Export of goods produced in landlocked areas.
  • Provide employment opportunities.
  • Export of minerals from such producing areas.
  • Facilitates loading-in perishable commodities like fruits, flowers, directly from source.

Challenges:

  • High cost required for development.
  • Absence of multimodal transport network.
  • Lack of significant businesses in hinterland to justify setting up of dry ports.
  • Credit availability reduced due to the NPA crisis.
  • Road infrastructure found to be inadequate.
  • Lack of willingness among the private sector.

Way forward:

  • Provision of PPP model in their development.
  • Development of freight corridors (eastern and western dedicated freight corridors).
  • Cooperation with the state government to share costs and provide necessary infrastructural facilities.
  • Industrial development to generate sufficient businesses/goods.
  • Accelerated road development (Bharatmala Pariyojana) and multimodal transport networks (Jal Marg Vikas Project).

Dry ports are essential for all-round economic development. While the government has provided impetus in setting up of such ports (Inland container depots, airports oriented industrial clusters), some shortcomings are to be addressed to ensure their development.

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