“The government aims to increase port capacity from 1,400 million tonnes to 3,000 million tonnes by 2025 and this will be made possible by getting investments to the tune of Rs1 lakh crore in the sector,” Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, said while inaugurating the Maritime India Summit.
During the summit, the National Perspective Plan of the Sagarmala Programme was released to develop the port sector and for ‘port-led development’.
“The multiple measures to promote coastal shipping, coupled with the anticipated rise in the domestic production of coal, is expected to enhance coastal transportation of coal by at least four folds by 2025,” Modi said.
The government is also in talk with neighbouring countries to promote shipping and maritime security. Recently, India has signed a coastal shipping agreement with Bangladesh. India is also engaged in the development of Chahbahar port in Iran. A special purpose vehicle by the name of India Ports Global Limited has been established to take up maritime projects overseas.
The other aim is to leverage the coastline and natural maritime resources. The Sagarmala programme “also focuses on promoting port-led development, energising the coastal economy and infrastructure development in these areas. We particularly want to modernise our ports and integrate them with special economic zones, port-based Smart Cities, industrial parks, warehouses, logistics parks and transport corridors,” Modi added.
While asking private players to be part of the investment climate, the prime minister highlighted that the port sector in India has a mix of private and public ports and private ports are doing well to handle almost half of the country’s total cargo. “The public-private partnership model of development has been quite successful in this sector and has helped in bringing the latest technology and best practices. Private ports have been growing at a very healthy pace and have nearly doubled their capacity in the last five years. They handle around 45% of the total cargo. Most of these ports are new, with modern facilities, and can match the best international ports in terms of performance and infrastructure,” Modi added.
For the Sagarmala programme, the government aims to adopt a comprehensive approach with focus on capacity-building and training, upgrading of technology and for improving physical and social infrastructure. This is where modern and sophisticated fishing vessels would be roped in to harness resources in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone. In addition, there will also be focus on value addition in fisheries, aquaculture and cold chain development.