The Union shipping ministry is planning to award 15 projects worth Rs.6,879 crore before March 31, 2016, a government release said. These projects include: (1) conversion of iron ore berths to multipurpose berths at Mormugao Port (Rs.1,100 crore); setting up of oil terminal at Ennore Port (Rs.700 crore); capital dredging at Ennore Port (Rs.600 crore); setting up of floating POL facility at Haldia Dock Complex (Rs.460 crore) and building a greenfield floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for LNG at Mumbai Port (Rs.2,740 crore).

According to Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for shipping, road transport & highways, quoted in the release, 32 projects have been completed in the current fiscal year, so far. These projects costing Rs.4,351 crore have created additional handling capacity of 70 million tpa. Apart from these, there are 46 projects with aggregate investment of Rs.28,040 crore and envisaging 307 million tpa of capacity under implementation.

During 2015-16, a total of 27 projects with investment of Rs. 12,696 crore, adding capacity of 116 million tpa have been awarded thus far. The largest project awarded this year is the FSRU for imported LNG at Kolkata Port Trust. The Rs.3,500-crore project envisaging capacity of 4 million tpa was awarded to a consortium of H-Energy Pvt Ltd (part of Hiranandani Group) and US-based Excelerate Energy. Other major projects awarded this year include the road connectivity project at JNPT and the mechanization of coal berths at Paradip Port.

Meanwhile, projects worth Rs.1,20,000 crore in the ports and shipping sector will be showcased before potential investors at the Maritime India Summit to be held in Mumbai during April 14-16, 2016. According to Union minister for shipping, road transport & highways, Nitin Gadkari, the government is focused towards creating new jobs in the maritime sector. A government release quoted Gadkari stating that 1 crore jobs—40 lakh direct and 60 lakh indirect—have been identified to be created in 27 port-based industrial clusters, coastal shipping and inland waterways under Sagarmala project.

The Minister underlined that in order to improve manufacturing, there is need to increase exports. While expressing concern over high cost of logistics in India which is currently about 18 per cent, the Minister said that by developing coastal shipping and inland waterways, the transportation cost can be substantially reduced which will reduce logistics cost and make our products more cost effective.

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