The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of five projects, namely four container terminals, one each in the major ports of Kandla, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Ennore and Kolkata, and one multipurpose cargo berth project at Mumbai Port.
The five projects entailing an investment of Rs.17,631 crore would double the container handling capacity of major ports and would add capacity to the tune of 11.6 million tonnes feet equivalent units.
The multipurpose cargo berth proposed for Mumbai Port would handle iron and steel project cargo and automobiles and would entail a capacity addition of 4.5 million tpa.
These projects would be implemented with latest technology. Once commissioned, the projects would pave way to reduce transaction costs by improving efficiency in handling operations.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, till mid-2013, Gujarat accounted for lion’s share of over 50 per cent in value terms of the total number of completed projects in the ports sector under the public-private partnership model. Out of the total 31 PPP port projects worth over Rs.24,700 crore under operation in India as of April 30, 2013, Gujarat accounted for 12 completed PPP projects worth over Rs.12,400 crore, according to the study titled ‘Port Developments in India’.
Besides, Gujarat ranks sixth with four PPP-based port projects worth over Rs.1,650 crore under construction. With a share of over 53 per cent, the state also topped the list of nine maritime states as it could create almost double the capacity at the minor ports than was envisaged in the 11th Plan.
Out of the total 881 PPP projects worth over Rs.5.4 lakh crore taken up under the PPP model across India, 62 projects in the port sector worth over Rs.82,000 crore are in different stages of implementation.
Odisha ranked second with a share of about 17 per cent followed by Maharashtra where five projects worth over Rs.3,700 crore are under operation. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu each with three projects under operation have garnered a share between 5-6 per cent, followed by Kerala at 2.8 per cent.
In early January this year, the Centre unveiled new policy guidelines for major ports, aimed at helping them leverage their land resources for commercial advantage. According to Shipping Secretary Vishwapati Trivedi, the new guidelines provide the necessary regulatory framework for land allotment by major ports.
Major ports in India have between them 2.64 lakh acres of land, which is a major resource. So far, the land utilisation has not been optimum and often yielded lesser returns. The thrust of the new policy has been on linking the value of land with prevailing market rates.
Under the new policy guidelines, land can be allotted only through licensing in custom bond areas by inviting competitive bidding, while land outside custom bond areas can be leased through tender-cum-auction. There is also a provision to license land outside custom bond areas, but it should be only for port related activities.
All the 12 major ports of the country are required to draw land use plan covering all land owned or managed by them. The new guidelines are applicable to all major ports in India except for the land relating to township areas in Mumbai, Kolkata and Kandla.
The new policy guidelines for land management are part of the ongoing process of port reforms and liberalisation. While the major ports under the central government operate in a comparatively more regulated environment, the non-major ports comprising state ports and private ports enjoy substantial degree of flexibility. The government has been working towards creating a level playing field for major and non-major ports.
The 12 major ports in India – Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Managlore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, VO Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) – handle approximately 61 per cent of cargo traffic. During 2013-14 it is planned to augment port capacity by 220 million tpa through 30 port projects. Out of these 20 port projects, with a capacity of approximately 100 million tpa, have already been approved, till January 2014.