A port is an integral platform serving as a base for production, trading, logistics and information transfer. As a node in supply chain systems that intersect between hinterlands, the performance of a port will have a direct impact on the competitive advantage of its users and affect the economic development of both the origin and destination hinterlands. India’s hinterland connectivity is mainly based on surface transport i.e. road and rail, wherein, domestic waterways (coastal shipping and inland waterways) playing a very limited role. Pipelines are predominantly used only for transporting crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas.
In India, smooth connectivity to ports is even more important as the cargo generating centers are mainly in the hinterland instead of in the coastal region. The long lead distance increases the logistics cost and time variability within which the cargo can be delivered.
Connectivity is one of the critical enablers for ports and the end-to-end effectiveness of the logistics system drives competitiveness for the maritime industry as well. With infusion of new technology and capacity building, the cumulative/ total capacity available at ports can match demand but will not be able to handle additional traffic if the evacuation to and from the port is restricted. It is, therefore, important that connectivity of major ports with the hinterland is augmented not only to ensure smooth flow of traffic at the present level but also to meet the requirements of projected increase in traffic.