On the congestion problems in Haldia and Kolkata Ports he said the ministry
has set up a study group by the Indian Institute of Technology Chennai to study
the locking system in Haldia port and come out with suggestions to improve the turnover
of the Port. The government is awaiting the report of the study group and once
the recommendations are received the government will initiate corrective action
to end congestion.
He said the Ministry has also plannned to set up a Centre for Excellence at
IIT Chennai to assist the Port sector.
There is also a move to sign a treaty among the member nations of Bay of
Bengal Initiative of Multi sectoral technical and economic cooperation
(BIMSTECH) to encourage coastal shipping among the member nations. The working
group of BIMSTEC is meeting in Delhi on November 27 and the issue will be taken
up there Mr Agarwal said. The member nations of this Group include besides
India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal Bhutan and Myanmar.
On the question of non availability of return cargo for coastal shipping
making the operations non viable the Joint Secretary said a move has been
floated in the recent Conclave held by the ministry in Goa that the major ports
should be paired and must undertake joint marketing operations. For instance to
promote traffic in the automobile sector Chennai and Khandla ports should work
together to generate additional traffic.
On the question of Dredging Mr Agarwal said it was noticed that three or
four ports in the country required massive maintenance dredging on a regular
basis at considerable costs. The ministry has entrusted the work of finding the
best business model for maintenance dredging in major ports in the country to
the Indian Ports Association (IPA) whether the task should be entirely given to
the Dredging Corporation of India or a tender should be floated to select the Dredging
contractor and whether the contract should be for a limited period of one year
or for three years. All these issues will be taken up by the IPA which will submit
a report to the Shipping Ministry shortly.
Master plans for each of the twelve major ports have been prepared by the
ministry based on the traffic flow to these ports. As many as 140 expansion
projects have been identified in these ports and 58 projects have taken off. It
has been decided to enhance the cargo handling capacity of major ports to 2500
Million tons and the capacity to three billion tons in the next seven years.
Among the new port sites identified are a transhipment terminal at Enayam
at the tip of the country close to major international shipping lanes, Outer
harbour project for the Paradip port, Fourth Contaner Terminal at Jawaharlal
Nehru Port near Mumbai and a Satellite Port at Wadawan in Maharashtra.
It has also been decided to set up a Port in North Coastal Karnataka near
Belekari since most of the industrial activities in the state took place in its
north eastern part of the state while the port at Mangalore was in southern
Karnataka. Some environmental issues relating to Western Ghats need to be
sorted out for this green field port project he said.