Govt to invest 5 trillion in Shipping sector by 2020

Govt to invest 5 trillion in Shipping sector by 2020

New Delhi: The government on Thursday unveiled a new policy for the Shipping sector that entails an investment of 5 trillion by 2020 to take the ports capacity to 3,200 MT and bring in major reforms in the space.

“The Maritime Agenda 2020 is a perspective plan that replaces the current National Maritime Development Project. We plan to take our port capacity to 3200 million tonnes (MT) from 617 MT on 31 March, 2010," shipping minister G. K. Vasan said launching the policy.

Out of the 5 trillion investment proposed in the sector, Rs3 trillion would be in the port sector, while the remaining Rs2 trillion will be infused in the Shipping sector.

Shipping secretary K. Mohandas said major chunk of the investment would come from the private sector and the government investment would be limited.

“Under the plan, we want to increase India’s share in global shipbuilding to 5% from the present 1%," Vasan said adding that other initiatives include formulating a new Dredging Policy, promote coastal shipping and increasing the share of Indian ships in country’s Exim trade.

Dredging is an excavation activity or operation usually carried out at least partly underwater with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location.

Vasan said the present Rs1.39 trillion NMDP plan which was to expire on 31 March, 2012 will be replaced with the new agenda and include its remaining projects.

Of the 276 projects identified under the NMDP through public-private-partnership (PPP) mode, the government plans to award 21 projects worth Rs13,952 crore projects in the current fiscal. Six such projects to augment the capacity of 13 major ports have already been awarded.

Elaborating other initiatives to be taken under the new agenda, Vasan said the Government would set up to more major ports in the coutry -- one each on the East and West coast, in addition to the existing 13 Major ports.

Besides, four major ports - two on the east coast - Vizag and Chennai and two on the West coast -- Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Cochin port would be converted into major hubs.

India at present has 13 major ports - Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Visakhapatanam, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin, Kandla and Port Blair under the control of Centre while has about 200 non major ports operated by states and private parties.

The government is also working on a new land policy for major ports and would soon appoint a port regulator to keep a vigil on port operations.