Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan has said that the central government was adopting a conscious policy of inviting private investment through PPP mode to meet the increasing demand for maritime infrastructure in the country.
Speaking on the occasion of the dedication of two terminals at Kandla Port in Gujarat and the signing of agreements for six more projects, Vasan said that his ministry had taken a number of steps in the last five years to rapidly modernise and develop India’s maritime sector so that it could sustain and accelerate economic growth. In 2012-13 alone, a record 32 projects carrying an estimated investment of Rs.6,700 crore were awarded, he stated. The target for the current year (2013-14) is 30 projects with an estimated investment of over Rs.26,000 crore.
In September this year, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal for licensing of land to the concessionaires for four projects to be taken up in PPP mode and one project on lease based on tender-cum-auction for setting up a cement bagging plant at Cochin Port. These four projects have been taken up in terms of the extant policy of the Government of India to pursue maritime development projects under public-private partnership. This decision will help augment the capacity of ports through PPP and will also bring about efficiency in operations at major ports.
Meanwhile, G.K. Vasan dedicated two terminals of Kandla Port to the nation. Speaking on the occasion, he said that since its inception and especially in the last decade, this port had grown from strength to strength fuelling growth of Kutch region in Gujarat. The two new terminals, multipurpose cargo berth No.15 and IFFCO barge jetty, a capacity of 4 million tpa had been added with an investment of Rs.216 crore.
Six concession agreements were also signed to add a capacity of 13.39 million tpa to Kandla Port with an investment of Rs.471 crore.
Kandla Port is a tidal port and is limited by draught restrictions, and increasing draught beyond a limit is not likely to be economical. The novel idea of introducing floating cranes in mid-sea by inviting private operators through competitive bidding and revenue sharing basis, therefore, needs to be appreciated.
A concession agreement was also signed for one more liquid jetty and bunkering facility at Kandla Port which is already an important destination for liquid cargo handling. This project will reduce the waiting and turnaround time for liquid vessels and further increase the cargo handling capacity of the port.