On 23rd March this year, a large container vessel ran aground and blocked Suez Canal, leading to the maritime shipping traffic coming to a halt at one of the world’s busiest waterways. It had remained struck for 6 days, with more than 400 ships being stranded in the waterway. While the vessel was dislodged using tugboats and dredgers, it caused significant adverse implications to the already suffering global economy amid the pandemic. This rare incident highlights the importance of strategic chokepoints in economic growth.
The Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2020 is the next in line reform measure in an attempt to modernize and optimize the working of major public sector infrastructure. The Bill attempts to bring major reforms in the administration and working of Major ports in India as it is poised to grow very fast in the upcoming period on account of a major focus on the indigenous manufacturing sector and larger developmental needs.
Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ) refers to designated coastal areas with special economic regulations such as tax incentives and lower tariffs to make it friendly for foreign direct investment.