India needs more investments in multi-modal
connectivity to existing ports than new deep-sea ports, the World Bank official
said even as most of the proposed new ports are only at the drawing board
stage. It takes nearly fifteen years from the time a port project is
conceptualized and implemented in India.
“There is enough port capacity available prime
facie; what is not available is the multi-modal connectivity to the ports,”
said Biju Ninan Oommen, Senior Port and Maritime Transport Specialist,
Transport & ICT Global Practice at the World Bank.
“What India needs is investment in the land side
in multi-modal logistics than more deep-sea ports at this point,” Oommen said
while addressing the Indo-Dutch Forum on Smart and Sustainable Port-led
Development.a few days ago
The 12 major ports run by the Central government
have a capacity to handle 1,359 million tonnes (mt) of cargo a year. The dozen
ports handled a combined 679.35 mt of cargo in the year to March 2018,
operating at a capacity utilization of 50 per cent.
Several new ports built with private funds have
added to the capacity and many are struggling for cargo as growth remains
subdued due to a decade of weak global trade. The ports in Gujarat and
Maharashtra working well beyond the capacity, the ports in the east coast are
working at fifty per cent of the capacity. While the government is
strengthening the connectivity to ports in the west coast, the railway
infrastructure to east coast ports are abysmally poor according to the port
The Shipping Ministry has identified six
locations to build new ports — Vadhavan (Maharashtra), Enayam (Tamil Nadu),
Tajpur (West Bengal), Paradip Outer Harbour (Odisha), Sirkazhi (Tamil Nadu) and
Belekeri (Karnataka). Though these new ports were conceived when the present
government came to power, it would take at least four years for construction to
“The techno-economic feasibility report has been
prepared for five locations and is under preparation for Tajpur. Detailed
project reports are under preparation for Vadhavan, Enayam and Paradip Outer
Harbour Projects. In-principle Cabinet approval has been obtained for a
transshipment port at Enayam,” a Shipping Ministry official said.
The government plans to invest Rs.91,
371 crore to expand port capacity by 884 mt by 2035 as part of the ambitious
Sagarmala programme, according to the Shipping Ministry. The plan includes 39
road connectivity projects for improving and strengthening the connectivity of
major ports to national and state highways, the Ministry said.