Gate Automation Plans are Paying Huge Dividends for Indian Ports


The majority of India’s container trades via major ports goes through the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. In 2016, this Indian Port Trust had mixed results, however, it is poised to benefit from some major efficiency improvements. The largest of these improvements was made by digitizing several processes and upgrading the overall infrastructure of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.

Port statistics reveal that the JNPT experienced a slight .7 percent jump in output of twenty foot equivalent units to a total of 4.5 million for 2016. With the introduction of gate automation, however, the JNPT anticipates that congestion will be eased therefore enabling record highs in container volume. Gate automation will force container liners to reroute ships to drop their JNPT imports off at other nearby ports. In addition to resolving congestion issues, the cost of operations at ports will also decline in thanks to the automated system. This will allow the JNPT to spend more money investing in automated systems of technology that may continue to make processing of containers seamless.

Time will also be greatly saved with the development of continuing digitization; terminals will no longer have to process pre-customs clearance manually thanks to automated systems that the JNPT will have implemented. With all these measures that will go into effect, the JNPT anticipates that dwell time at their Indian ports will be reduced to about 2.5 days per shipper in contrast to 3 or more days in previous years. One such operating system, Smart Gates, which has been in use at one of JNPT’s ports has already dramatically improved the speed of processing containers at its terminal gates as transaction time has shrunk to 30 seconds from two minutes prior to the system being introduced. With the usage of electronic gate procedures, Indian ports estimate to accomplish daily gate transactions at an average of 4,500 twenty foot equivalent units, which is a great increase from the previous yearly level of 3,500 TEUs per day.

Shippers who send goods through the JNPT can also expect to benefit from other technological advances, such as a radio frequency identification logistics data bank system which will allow both exporters and importers to track their goods while in transit at sea. This will be the first technology of its kind at any major public port. As a whole, the Indian government has invested much funding into enhancing and upgrading the operations of many ports in the JNPT. Further plans are being made to potentially create a unified port community system/electronic platform that would integrate all processes related to delivery orders, transport orders, gate open-cut off times, delivery gate schedules, gate-in bookings, and pre-gate schedules. A spokesman for the Indian Ports Association stated in a recent paper, “The government is committed to improving the ranking of India on the ease of doing business scale globally.” In its last World Bank survey, India ranked 130th out of 189 nations in its ease of doing business at ports. It should be rising on that scale in the years to come, thanks to the introduction of gate automation and other digitalized advances.