Low cost Non-Major Ports on the anvil
For faster movement of cargo and to facilitate priority berthing, the government has plans to set up low cost Non-Major ports along the coastline under the Sagarmala project.
As waiting time is important and hampers the efficiency of vessel operations, the government has asked 12 major ports to accord priority berthing facilities to ships. “The lack of berthing facilities force ships to spend 70 per cent time waiting and only 30 per cent in voyage,” Ministry of Shipping said in a document. This makes the shipping industry uncompetitive. The document further said that "Development of low-cost non-major ports along the coastline outside customs notified areas to cater to coastal traffic exclusively would be encouraged under the Sagarmala project, through the respective state/maritime boards, as has been done in the UK and Japan." With the government pushing port-led economic development, Sagarmala is a priority project for which the government had given a go ahead in March. The government will identify Coastal Economic Zones for integrated planning for Sagarmala. The budget for initial phase in 201516 is 692 crore. Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Managlore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) are the 12 major ports, which handle approximately 61 per cent of cargo traffic. Currently, India comes 17th in global shipping capacity in EXIM trade. The EXIM cargo volume is around 611 million tonnes (MT) and accounts for US$279 billion. India has a coastline of over 7,000 km but even then coastal shipping is in its infancy. The fleet of around 700 ships accounts for about 10 per cent of the total tonnage. And the plan is to boost shipping cargo four-fold by 2020.