Rice has the lion’s share in the Coastal and Exim basket of Kandla International Container Terminal (KICT), necessitates a closer look at what factors contributed to the effective shifting of rice cargo to Kandla and what are the future prospects of the commodity.
Global rice production in 2019/20 is projected at 498.4 million tons, down fractionally from the previous year’s record, but still slightly above 2017/18. Whereas global rice consumption is projected at a record 496.1 million tons, up 4.1 million or by 1 percent as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This provides tremendous potential for rice-exporting countries like India, Thailand etc. to expand their global footprint in rice exports.
Rice cultivation is well-suited to a sub-continental country like India with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample amounts of water. In states like West Bengal, Assam and Orissa two crops of rice are raised in a year. Rice is considered as the master crop of coastal India and in some regions of eastern India where during the rainy season both high temperatures and heavy rainfall provide ideal conditions for the cultivation of rice. Almost all parts of India are suitable for raising rice during the summer season provided that the water is available. Rice is also raised in parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana where low level areas are waterlogged during the rainy season. Thus, the major production centers of rice are in the northern and eastern parts of the country, whereas the consumption centers are spread evenly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh etc, providing tremendous scope for internal trade including coastal movement.
- The Export Market and KICT
India is the world’s largest exporter of rice with close to 30% of the market share. From the western ports of the country, especially from Kandla-Mundra region, annually close to 150,000 TEUs of rice is being exported worldwide with the largest share exported to the Middle East , close to 65,000 TEUs. Moreover, KICT is planning two weekly Gulf services by the end of FY 2019–20, which will help the rice shippers to connect to other Middle East destinations.
- Advantage Kandla
There are varied advantages for rice exporters from making shipments from Kandla/ KICT. The first and foremost being 80 % of rice stuffing is done in Gandhidham – Kandla Complex, which is 15 kms away from KICT, hence the cost advantage. At Kandla there is a highly costeffective warehousing facility of 15 million sq. ft available in Gandhidham complex, which is near to KICT. Moreover, KICT is connected with NH 8 A and NH 14 with road infrastructure that caters to Gujarat and North India. Kandla is centrally located to hinterland cargo resulting in distance saving — the first leg road bridging for the transporters is reduced by 75 kms, a roundtrip of 150 km.
Due to its strategic location, associated cost benefits, and warehousing facility, Kandla International Container Terminal has emerged as a preferred destination for rice shippers and CHAs.