The Government of India has firmed up a plan to develop greenfield ports at Dahanu, Vijaydurg and Revas in Maharashtra in association with the state government and private sector players. The total investment is estimated to be over Rs 20,000 crore and each port is expected to handle 40 million tonnes of cargo a year.
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.”
Gadkari said his ministry is working out details regarding investments needed for these three ports. He said they are being developed to decongest Jawaharlal Nehru and Mumbai Ports.
“A study shows that there is a good draft of 20 meters available in Dahanu. Vijaydurg is another good site. As far as Revas is concerned, a draft of 13 to 18 meters will be available,” he noted.
Revas, which was to be developed by Reliance Industries and Jai Corp, with a minor stake of the Maharashtra government, could not kick off due to issues regarding dredging and mangroves. He said the project will be revived now.
Gadkari was hopeful 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 welcomed Gadkari’s initiative to develop hub ports to de-congest JNP and move cargo from Mumbai Port. “However, the focus needs to be on providing the necessary support logistic infrastructure to the existing ports in the form of roads and railways to integrate them with the hinterland in a seamless manner. We believe this will be a more prudent way to serve the needs of trade and economy.”
Kalantri said the Centre can also enter into sister port agreements with 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.