Mumbai, July 28 :
Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari Monday announced an ambitious plan to double the capacity of 12 major Indian ports from the current 800 million metric tonnes to 1,600 mmts in the next five years.
In this context, the ports have already drawn up action plans for capacity addition of 500 mmts, of which projects to the tune of 350 mmts will commence from the current fiscal, he said.
“Ports and roads play a key role and country’s GDP can be boosted by two percent if these key infrastructure sectors are developed to their potential.
Required policy measures to create level playing fields for the major ports, including review of TAMP (Tariff Authority for Major Ports), would be taken to remove bottlenecks and facilitate growth,” Gadkari said after a comprehensive review meeting here with the heads of all the ports.
Emphasising the need to improve operational efficiency at the ports, he noted that the turnaround time in Indian ports compares unfavourably with the international benchmark.
“While the turnaround time taken is only 0.6 days in Singapore, it takes considerably more time in India, which has affected the international image of our ports,” said Gadkari.
Stressing the need to improve port connectivity, the minister said rail connectivity options should be explored to avoid traffic congestion around the port areas.
In this regard, Gadkari felt that the Roll-On, Roll-Off (RO-RO) service could be beneficial and said the government favoured forming special purpose vehicles with ports participation for implement port connectivity rail projects.
On their part, he asked port heads to speed up decision-making processes, explore decentralisation including setting up ‘satellite port’ facilities and draw up timelines for projects implementation, among other things.
The port chiefs apprised the minister on various issues including port congestion, delay in evacuation, slow customs clearance process, inadequate draft in the channels preventing entry of large ships and inadequate road-rail connectivity.
Present at the meeting were Shipping Secretary Vishwapati Trivedi, Director General Shipping Gautam Chatterjee, Advisor, Shipping Ashish Sinha, and chairpersons of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai Port Trust (both Mumbai), Kandla, Marmagoa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai, Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Haldia and Kolkata.