Capacity at India’s major ports to be doubled to 1600 million tons over five years ; Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari holds review meeting on port development in Mumbai

Capacity at India’s major ports to be doubled to 1600 million tons over five years ;
Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari holds review meeting on port development in Mumbai
Union Minister for Shipping Mr. Nitin Gadkari today held a comprehensive review meeting of major ports in Mumbai, laying thrust on improving operational efficiency and expanding port capacity. Chairpersons of all the 12 Major ports participated in the meeting and appraised the Minister about their various development projects. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Shipping Minister Mr. Gadkari said India plans to double the ports’ capacity from the current 800 million metric tons (mmts) to 1600 mmts over the next five years. The 12 major ports have already drawn up action plan for capacity addition of 500 mmts, out of which projects to the tune of 350 mmts are slated to commence during this financial year itself.

The Minister said the government has placed a greater thrust on infrastructure development and is keen on giving a serious push to water transport. “Ports and roads play a key role and country’s GDP can be boosted by 2% if these key infrastructure sectors are developed to their potential” he added. “Required policy measures to create level playing fields for the major ports, including review of TAMP (Tariff Authority for Major Ports) would be taken to remove bottlenecks and facilitate growth” Mr. Gadkari assured the heads of ports.

Laying thrust on improving operational efficiency, Mr. Gadkari observed “the turn around time in Indian ports, compares unfavourably with international benchmark. While it is only 0.6 days in Singapore, it takes considerably more time in India, which has affected the international image of our ports.” 

The Minister also stressed on the need to improve port connectivity. He said rail connectivity options should be explored to avoid traffic congestion around port areas. Mr Gadkari said RO-RO (Roll-on, Roll-of) service could be an additional measure to decongest port traffic. The government has favoured forming Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) with ports participation to implement port connectivity railway projects. 

Mr Gadkari asked the Port heads to speed up decision making process by exercising powers available to them under the Port Trust Act.  He said, his government would support all bona-fide decisions taken with a positive approach.  He also said the ports must explore possibilities of decentralization, including setting up of satellite port facilities. The Minister asked all the ports to draw up timelines for implementing their projects and adopt e-tendering and global tendering to promote transparency.  
The heads of major ports in their crisp presentations explained the salient features of their identified projects and also listed out constraints faced by them. JNPT appraised the Minister about the progress of the fourth container terminal, being built with the help of Port Authority of Singapore. Mumbai Port Trust outlined its growth plan of augmenting port capacity, without increasing traffic congestion on the city side.

Port congestion, delay in evacuation, slow process of customs clearance, inadequate draft in the channels preventing arrival of large ships, inadequate road and rail connectivity were some of the key issues mentioned as challenges requiring urgent attention.  

The meeting was attended by the Secretary, Shipping Mr. Vishwapati Trivedi, DG,Shipping Mr.Gautam Chatterjee, Advisor, Shipping Ashish Sinha, Joint Secretary, N Muruganandan and Chairpersons of Chairpersons of Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT,  Marmagao,  New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin,  V O Chidambarnar,  Chennai, Ennore,  Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Haldia and Kolkata.