The Union Government will give clearance to develop three new ports at Dahanu near Palghar district in Maharashtra, Kolachal in South Tamilnadu and Sagar Island in West Bengal within two months, said Nitin Jairam Gadkari , Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways.
The Rs 6000 crore satellite port planned at Dahanu is expected to decongest the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai. JNPT will be the main developer for this project. The estimated Rs 21,000 crore Colachal port in Tamilnadu will be located about 50 kilometres away from the proposed Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport in Kerala, which was recently awarded to the Adani Group which plans to set up that port within 1000 days.
"There is huge potential for cargo movement in that region and there is no harm in having two deep water ports at close proximity", said Gadkari.
Speaking at a select press meet in Mumbai on Thursday, Gadkari said the Government's 'Saagarmala' project will make India one among the top maritime players in the world. The project, cleared by the cabinet in March, plans new ports and port modernization, connectivity improvement, industrial development near ports and coastal community development.
India has 12 major ports and 200 plus non-major ports, which carry 90 per cent of India's trade volume. Cargo traffic is expected to grow from 972 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2014 to 2,500 MMT by 2025. Coastal shipping is expected to increase from 60 MMT to 180-200 MMT by 2017. The Government has set a capacity augmentation target of 162.20 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) at an investment of Rs 14,226 crore.
Gadkari said harnessing inland waterways will be another major thrust for cargo and passenger movement, which will significantly reduce freight charges.
"In China, 47 of goods movement is through water, in the west, it is in the region of 43-44 per cent and in India, it is just 3.5 percent", he said.
A bill is pending in Parliament to declare 101 rivers as National Waterways, which will pave way for the development of these waterways for passenger and cargo transportation.
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