The Gujarat Maritime Board, which currently manages 41 minor ports in the state, is planning to develop port infrastructure facilities near the existing Magdalla port in Surat and the Bhavnagar port through private sector investment.
The Gujarat Maritime Board’s plan for developing port facilities has been drawn with a view to tap the huge potential that exists in the two districts and also their location and infrastructure. A large number of industries such as diamond processing, textile, sugarcane, zari work and handicraft are based in Surat. More than 18 industrial areas have been established in the Surat and Vapi region for manufacturing various kinds of goods. The main industries in Bhavnagar include diamond cutting and polishing, cement and gypsum, inorganic salt-based and marine chemicals, ship building, ship repair, oxygen, foundry, re-rolling, ceramics, fabrication and food processing.
The proposed port facilities are expected to facilitate supply of raw materials to the industries located in the two districts and the surrounding region and also help expand their reach globally.
The GMB had invited Expression of Interest for development of minor ports and port related facilities and activities near the ports of Magdalla and Bhavnagar, the last date for submission of which was November 16th, 2013.
As per available project details, the proposed development of common user port facilities opposite the existing Magdalla port is for 200 m. long berth suitable for four barges to work simultaneously on both sides. The waterfront of approximately 1.5 km. that is proposed to be developed through private investment will be allotted. For backup areas, the private party needs to acquire suitable land. The port facilities supporting lighterage operations will accommodate barge sizes up to 2,500 DWT. Cargo planned to be handled from the location include fertilizer, coal, sugar, cement and clinker, fruits, soybean and general goods. The estimated project cost, excluding the cost of land, is Rs. 200 crore.
The proposed port facilities near Bhavnagar port will accommodate mini bulk carriers and barges of sizes between 1,500 DWT and 3,000 DWT. It will handle cargo such as coal, limestone, fertilizer, agro, salt and miscellaneous goods. The land on which the backup area for the port facilities has been planned is primarily wasteland and belongs to the government. The estimated project cost is Rs. 105 crore.
Meanwhile, environmentalists are opposing GMB’s plan to develop port facilities opposite the existing Magdalla port. They claim that such development will obstruct the flow of river Tapi leading to floods in the area. The Magdalla port is located on the southern bank of the river about 16 km. upstream of the mouth.