The Centre has firmed up a plan to develop greenfield ports at Dahanu, Vijaydurg and Revas in Maharashtra in association with the Maharashtra government and the private sector players.
Total investment is estimated to be well over Rs 20,000 crore and each port is expected to handle 40 million tonnes of cargo annually.
The union minister of ports Nitin Gadkari told Business Standard, ”The development of these ports will be done under the Centre’s Integrated Ports Development plan where in ports, roads and railway network will be simultaneously developed. The ministry has completed the initial study with regard to development of these ports and held talks with the Maharashtra government for its involvement.”
He informed that his ministry is working out details with regard to investments for proposed three ports. Gadkari explained that development of three ports aims to de congest the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and also the Mumbai Port.
”Study shows that there is a good draft of 20 meters available in Dahanu. Vijaydurg is also another good site. As far as Revas is concerned, the draft of 13 to 18 meters will be available,” he noted.
Revas port, which was to be developed by Reliance Industries, Jai Corp with minor stakes sof Maharashtra government could not kick off due to problems relating to the dredging and mangroves. He noted that the project will be revived now.
Further, Gadkari expressed hope that the proposed Dedicated Freight Corridor from JNP to Delhi, eight laning of Mumbai-Pune Highway and its connectivity with the soon to be widened Mumbai-Goa highway would help JNP move its container traffic more efficiently and quickly.
Vishal Kalantri, director, Dighi Port Limited said he welcomes Gadkari’s initiative to develop hub ports to de-congest JNP and move coargo from Mumbai Port.
”However, the focus needs to be on providing the necessary support logistic infrastructure to the existing ports in the form of road and railway infrastructure to integrate them with the hinterland in a seamless manner. We believe this will be more prudent way to serve the needs of the trade and economy.”
Further, he noted that the Centre can also enter into sister port agreements with the existing ports.
Moreover, a senior official of PE firm, who did not want to be identified, said the key issues involved in the development of proposed ports in Maharashtra and rest of India include the dredging costs, the cargo flows and whether or not the hinterland supports the cargo projections.
”These issues are quite critical for the viability of ports,” he observed. Meanwhile, Gadkari informed that his ministry has proposed dry ports or inland feeder ports at Aurrangabad and Wardha for the EXIM trade.