Five major port trusts function without full-time chief executives

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 05, 2017

Situation ‘alarming’, will lead to delay in decision-making process: officials

Five major port trusts are operating without a full-time chief executive, some for about 18 months, a situation termed “alarming” by port officials when private rivals are nipping at the heels of the 12 ports owned by the Central government.

MT Krishna Babu, the Chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, holds additional charge of Kolkata Port Trust since March 2016.

Cochin Port Trust has been without a full-time chairman from May 2016 after Paul Antony stepped down from the post on completing his five-year term. P Raveendran, Chairman of Chennai Port Trust, holds the additional charge of Cochin Port Trust from March 2017.

Rinkesh Roy, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust, has been vested with the additional responsibility of looking after Kamarajar Port Ltd, after the previous Chairman and Managing Director MA Bhaskarachar superannuated on July 31. Kamarajar is India’s only Central government-owned port that is run as a company; the rest are run as trusts.

Suresh Shirwardkar, Deputy Chairman of New Mangalore Port Trust, is the Chairman in-charge of the port after PC Parida superannuated on July 31.

I Jeyakumar, Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust, holds the additional charge of V O Chidambaranar Port Trust after SAC Bose superannuated on August 31.

Deendayal Port Trust (earlier known as Kandla Port Trust) will soon be without a full-time Chairman when the five-year term of the incumbent Ravi Parmar ends in February 2018.

Two other institutions under the Shipping Ministry are also without functional heads — the Indian Maritime University (IMU) and the Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd.

KM Sivakholundu, the senior-most professor at IMU, functions as the interim Vice-Chancellor after K Ashok Vardhan Shetty quit in May.

The Shipping Ministry too is without a full-time joint secretary (ports) after Barun Mitra left for another Central assignment on promotion. Except for Kamarajar, the chairmen of port trusts are picked through an internal mechanism.

“It’s an alarming situation in the ports sector which is the real back-bone of India’s foreign trade,” said an industry official.

The absence of a full-time chief executive, according to sources, delays the decision-making process at a time when these ports are losing market share to private ports.

Cargo handling

The dozen major ports handled 647.76 million tonnes (mt) of cargo in the year-ended March 2017, accounting for 57 per cent of India’s external trade via sea route.

Private ports have been increasing their market share from about 10 per cent a decade ago to 43 per cent aided by flexible regulatory regime and faster decision-making processes.

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Published on October 05, 2017
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