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Smooth Flow - Telecom upgrades help JNPT handle increased traffic

August 15, 2009
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During the decade 1999-2009, container traffic at the major ports in India increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 13.49 per cent.Going forward, the container capacity in Indian ports is estimated to increase from the current level of 7.7 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 20 million TEUs in 2020.

Keeping in mind the business opportunities offered by such growth, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) upgraded its limited communications infrastructure to one that facilitated fast and streamlined flow of information. The company wanted to create a communications network that could be used by all workers involved in various business processes. tele.net takes a look at the port's telecom-related initiatives so far...


JNPT is the largest container-handling port in the country. It handles about 60 per cent of the total container traffic that passes through all Indian major ports. In 2007-08, it carried 10.75 per cent of the total major port traffic. JNPT handled 55.75 million tonnes in 2007-08, 24.41 per cent more than in 2006-07.

The port has three operational container terminals: Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal (JNPCT), Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal and Gateway Terminals India Private Limited. JNPCT, which has the capacity to handle 1.1 million TEUs per annum, is operated by the port authorities while the other two terminals are privately operated.

Legacy system

Initially, JNPT used a relatively simple communications infrastructure. Plain old telephone systems (POTS) and email were used for external communication. As the port's operations were not widespread then, its telecom needs were relatively simple, and its communications network comprised telephone lines, email and "dumb" terminals offering restricted usage.

Considering the fast evolving business requirements, JNPT realised that its limited telecom infrastructure was not adequate to meet business needs. As a result, the importance of a robust and flexible infrastructure came to the fore.

The shift

The company planned to implement a robust, integrated and transparent communications infrastructure that would enable the flow of information on a real-time basis.

As the first step, JNPT opted for several wide area network (WAN) technologies, including digital loop carrier (DLC) (local loop), integrated services digital network (ISDN) and the internet.The use of ISDN provides the port several benefits. It offers high bandwidth, which permits users to download data faster and stream voice, data and video content easily.

DLC (local loop) connectivity offers JNPT reliable and high speed connectivity as compared to the inadequate connectivity provided by the old dial-up connection.

For last mile connectivity, the port utilises optic fibre connectivity and radio frequency (RF) technology. Optic fibre was chosen as it offers high bandwidth, which makes it easy to use over longer distances as compared to other mediums such as copper cable.

For securing its network, JNPT has several solutions in place. Security audits are performed, which systematically evaluate the safety of the company's information system by measuring how well it conforms to a set of established criteria.Similarly, firewalls protect the resources of the port's network from users belonging to other networks.

With regard to enterprise applications, voice over internet protocol, video/audio conferencing and email are widely used.The port also uses the internet as a strategic tool to reach out to its customers and vendors. Information on the company's financials, recent initiatives, etc. is available on the website. Users can track their containers on the website or via GPRsenabled mobile handsets.

Benefits and challenges

JNPT did not face any major challenges while implementing the new infrastructure. The improved telecom infrastructure has helped the port to efficiently manage the flow of information, increase network security and reach out to its customers in a better and more efficient manner.

Net, net, the deployment of new technologies has helped JNPT to ensure business continuity and prepared it to accommodate the ever-increasing requirements of its customers.

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