The first-ever Ports Conclave of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries, including Bangladesh, begins in the coastal Indian city of Visakhapatnam today to explore the possibility of increasing economic cooperation by furthering export-import trade and coastal shipping.
The two-day Conclave, to be inaugurated by India’s Minister of State for Shipping Mansukhlal Mandaviya, will also discuss various investment opportunities, best practices adopted for productivity and safety at ports. Senior officials from the ports sector from all seven member-nations as well as from the trade and various shipping associations will be participating in the Conclave under the BIMSTEC banner involving Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand will be part of the conclave and will present their country’s perspective on BIMSTEC and regional ports. The first Ports’ Conclave of BIMSTEC nations will see five panel sessions including on ‘Port led Industrial and Tourism Development’ which aims to discuss a mechanism to encourage tourism in the region and develop industrial clusters in close proximity to a port.
The diverse historical and cultural heritage of the BIMSTEC nations makes it an ideal destination for tourism in which the ports plays a vital role for encouraging cruise tourism. As the supply chain are necessitating expansion beyond national boundaries, the enlarging scope is resulting in increased cargo through ports, which is putting tremendous pressure on the existing port infrastructure. Hence, adoption of new technological solutions to maximize efficiency and productivity by optimizing the available space, resources, time and energy is the need of hour.
The second panel session will be on ‘Emergent Roles of Ports in the Global Supply Chain’ to deliberate on the emergent role of ports and terminals in the backdrop of the expanding supply chains and the solutions available. The last panel session on the Conclave’s first day will be on ‘Safe and Secure Ports’ whose objective is to discuss the emerging threats and the safeguards against security threats as ports are not only of vital commercial interest but also a nation’s strategic assets.
On the second day of the Conclave, a fourth panel session will be on ‘Ports Services: Delivering Value’ which will provide a platform for discussion on various steps undertaken for improving the ease of doing business. The last panel session will be in ‘Green Port Operations’. In the light of the commitment to the environment and Paris Climate Accord. To mitigate the threat of climate change, ports must adopt a sustainable operations model and this session aims to discuss the process, the technologies and solutions available to adopt ‘Green Port Operations’.
Memorandum of Understanding are expected to be signed for furthering trade cooperation between the ports of Visakhapatnam, Kolkata and Chennai with port authority of Thailand’s Ranong port. BIMSTEC is a regional organization comprising of seven Member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. The objective of BIMSTEC alliance was to harness trade and accelerated growth with mutual cooperation in different areas of common interest by utilizing the regional resources and geographical advantage.