The government of India has been constantly working to improve the port and maritime infrastructure of the country to increase the cargo capacity and waterways transportation. Last week, Union Shipping and Ports Minister announced to construct eight new major ports in the country and indicated government plans to invest more than Rs 12 trillion in ports & waterways sector in the long term.
This year government will construct three major ports at Wadhwan in Maharashtra, Sagar in Bengal and Colachel in Tamil Nadu with the cost of Rs 25,000 crore, but did not announce the names of other five ports. Minister said after Kandla, no major port has been constructed after 1950s in the country. These eight new ports will add to existing 12 major ports.
Minister claimed, the 12 existing major ports of the country have given Rs 4,200 crore profit in 2015-16 and growth is faster than private sector ports and global peers. The operating profit from these ports has jumped almost Rs 670 crore.
Maritime India Summit fetched the investment proposal of Rs 82,905 crore, which concluded last week. During the summit 141 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and Business agreements were signed by various players in the maritime sector, including Major Ports, State Maritime Boards and PSUs like Shipping Corporation of India, Cochin Shipyard Limited, Inland Waterways Authority of India, etc. to develop, modernise new and existing ports, cargo and waterways system in the country.
The major agreements are, Rs 9,167 crore agreement between Maharashtra Maritime Board and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to construct phase-1 of Greenfield port at Wadhwan, Maharashtra, Rs 3,000 crore agreement between Andhra Pradesh government with Inland Waterways Authority of India to develop the National Waterway-4, Rs 5,411 crore agreement between Gujarat Maritime Board and Shapoorji Pallonji for the development of a new LNG Terminal at Chara and Rs 18,412 crore agreement between Vishakhapatnam Port Trust and HPCL to double the capacity of the Visakha Refinery from 7.5 MMT to 15 MMT.
India’s Prime Minister said while addressing Maritime India Summit, “the Ministry of Shipping is showcasing about 250 projects with investment opportunity in the Maritime Sector. These projects include various infrastructure development opportunities in 12 Major Ports, projects in eight maritime states and other agencies. Of these, over 100 projects have been identified under the Sagarmala Programme. With more than 14,000 kilometers of navigable inland waterways in the country, there is tremendous potential for development in this sector.”
Government of India aims to increase the country’s port capacity to 3000 million tonnes by 2025 from existing 1400 million and willing to mobilize an investment of Rupees one trillion in the port sector to facilitate this growth. In the last two years, major ports of the country have been awarded 56 new projects involving an investment of more than Rs 25,000 crore and it would create an additional port capacity of 317 million tonnes per annum.
In recent times, despite the global slowdown, major Indian ports have witnessed more than four percent growth in last two years. During this period these major ports have added 165 million tonne capacity and 94 million tonnes added in 2015-16 alone which is the highest ever. 2015 recorded the highest ever quantity of cargo handled by major ports and fastest average turnaround time in ports.
Last month, Parliament passed the bill to declare 111 new rivers in National Waterways, earlier there were only five rivers declared as National Waterways. The government has projected initial investment of Rs 70,000 crore and government exploring various ways to collect the fund for the project. This eco-friendly mode of transportation bound to decrease around 18 percent of logistics cost in the country.
It shows, the outlook of maritime, shipping, ports, waterways sector are very positive and huge investment is going to take place in coming years for the expansion and improvement of infrastructure. Such a huge investment in this sector will strongly support construction equipment sector, which is directly dependent on infrastructure development in the country.