Govt has identified 101 projects under PM Gati Shakti - National Master Plan to bolster port connectivity
Kolkata/IBNS: Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways has identified 101 new projects under PM Gati Shakti - National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, and over 80 projects under the Sagarmala programme to bolster maritime development and transport connectivity to the country's production and consumption centres, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said Thursday.
The projects focus on last-mile roads and rail connectivity to the ports, freights expressways, heavy-haul rail projects to transport coal, new pipeline for transporting crude and petroleum, and prioritise inland waterways and new multimodal logistics hubs, said Ports Shipping and Waterways Minister Sabananda Sonowal while speaking at a CII event.
India's maritime sector plays a crucial role in overall trade and growth with 95 percent of the country's trade volumes and 65 percent of the trade value being undertaken maritime transport, he said.
These projects will help in integrating ports, rail, and road connectivity, resulting in reductions in logistical costs, he asserted.
Gati Shakti - National Master Plan aims to cut down logistics cost to 8 percent of GDP from 13 percent and bring logistics efficiency.
Under the Sagarmala programme, the ministry provides financial support to state government ports infrastructure projects, coastal projects, coastal berth projects, coastal community development among others.
"A well-functioning logistics ecosystem is thought to be a catalyst for improving the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy," he noted.
The supply chain and logistics sector in India is one of the largest globally. As a result, increasing supply chain efficiency and lowering logistics costs are critical for India to capitalise on its strategic strengths and achieve its well-defined goal of being a $ 5 trillion economy by 2025, he said.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), the largest container port in India, is ready to connect with other Indian ports as well as for container traffic through its newly constructed coastal berth, he said.
It will cater to the coastal movement of cement, edible oil, steel under the new policy in which a green channel is provided for domestic cargo, not possible in the custom notified areas.
Sonowal pointed out that India's long coastline and extensive waterways present an ideal case for the implementation of projects like RORO/ROPAX ferry services.
Referring to RORO/ROPAX ferry services in Ghogha and Hazira in Gujarat, Mumbai and Mandwa in Maharashtra and Majuli and Ninmati in Assam, which cut travel distance from 400 km to 60 km, 110 km to 18 km and 423 km to 12.7 km respectively, he underscored the growing importance of such projects for fast and cheap transport that also helps reducing emission.
Further, he urged the private sector to invest in India's port and maritime infrastructure.
"Investment in ports has increased steadily over the last five years we are keen on partnering with the industry on PPP mode to make the industry most successful," Sonowal said.
In this context, he mentioned the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021 and Inland Vessels Act, 2021 formed to cater to modern and contemporary needs and development of the maritime sector by uniform applicability of rules and regulations.
He also mentioned the revised Model Concession Agreement (MCA) – 2021 for public-private partnership (PPP) projects at Major Ports.
The new agreement applies to all the future PPP model-based projects at major ports, and also the projects which are approved by the government already but are still under the bidding stage.
Currently, there are over 80 PPP/landlord projects in the sector with an investment of more than Rs 56,000 crore at various stages, he informed.
Of these, 53 projects worth Rs 40,000 crore are under operation, whereas as many as 27 projects worth over Rs 16,000 crore are at the implementation stage.