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New port project at Tajpur takes shape while an Inland container depot is planned at Darjeeling

Apart from the full fledged port at Tajpur, West Bengal is all set to commission an Iinland Container Depot (ICD) at Darjeeling, coastal employment zones at Kolkata and Haldia and hubs for export of leather items, footwear and furniture from the Centre’s Sagarmala Project. The ICD at Darjeeling is under implementation and will be one of the 15 multi-modal logistics parks being developed across the countryWest“

The shipping ministry had earlier decided to set up a new port at Sagar Islands but the West Bengal government insisted on setting up the port at Tajpur. After negotiations with the state government the centre decided to support the Bengal government’s project of setting up a new port at Tajpur. The fate of the port project at sagar islands is however not known.

We have identified more than 570 projects at a total investment of nearly Rs 8, 00,000 crore. The plan is to reduce costs with minimum change in infrastructure. Ports will be modernized and connectivity to them will be improved. The next step is to develop skills among the coastal communities.

Finally, there will be port land industrialization. We want future industries to come up closer to ports and create Coastal Industrial Zones and Maritime Clusters. This is a 20-year program that started from 2015. Of the projects identified, 59 have already been completed and 162 are under implementation at a cost of Rs 1,69,786 crore,” K K Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Sagarmala Project, Ministry of Shipping, said in Kolkata on May 25

The ministry plans to increase the capacity of ports by 210 million tons by the end of 2018-19. Along with this, 970 km of road and 716 km of rail connectivity to the ports will be completed. The ministry has also tied up with Siemens to set up Centres of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding (CEMS).

These centres have the capacity of training 10,000 people in port-based industry every year. According to Aggarwal, nearly 1,100 of those trained are already employed. “Nearly 2,103 people have already been trained in ship design and shipbuilding and 6,825 have undergone training in safety aspects at the world’s largest shipbreaking unit in Alang. The ministry has already released Rs 825 crore for this. As part of port modernization, the turnaround time of ships will be reduced.

Techno-Economic Feasibility Reports (TEFRs) are being prepared for five port projects including Tajpur.  For Tajpur, nearly 14 months will be required for the Detailed Project Report after which the project will be sent to the Centre for approval.

There will be no paucity of funds for the projects that have already been identified,” Aggarwal added. Mr Aggarwal was speaking at a workshop on ‘Challenges in the Maritime and Logistics Industry’ by The Bengal Chamber (BCC&I). Among the other participants were K Swaminathan, director (service business), Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd, Nick Dimokidis, senior claims executive, M/s Charles Taylor Mutual Management (Asia) Pte Ltd, managers of The Standard Club Asia Ltd, Singapore (P&I Club) and Atul Joshi, DIG, Indian Coast Guard, Eastern Region, Kolkata.


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