Future of Indian Ports: Multi-Modal Connectivity and Tech Integration Unveiled
The Union Shipping Ministry, under the National Monetization plan for 2024, has identified 20 projects worth Rs 6,761 crore to be leased to private-sector operators, according to Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal. Four projects valued at Rs 1,581 crore have already been approved and are undergoing the bidding process. Minister Sonowal highlighted the government’s major goals, including the revival of the Indian shipbuilding industry, a shift away from fossil fuels, and significant technological interventions.
In the National Monetisation Pipeline, 81 public-private partnership projects worth Rs 42,400 crore have been identified, with 14 valued at Rs 10,750 crore already awarded. For the fiscal year 2024, 20 projects worth ~Rs 6,761 crore have been identified, with four projects worth Rs 1,581 crore already approved and in the bidding process. Some high-value projects include the Outer Harbour at Tuticorin Port (Rs 7,055 crore), Multi Cargo Berth at Deendayal Port (Rs 1,719 crore), and Berth 7&8 at Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port (Rs 865 crore).
The government aims to increase the share of cargo handled through public-private partnerships from the current 56.5% to 85% by 2030. This involves transitioning major ports from the ‘service model’ to the ‘landlord model.’ Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority achieved the milestone of becoming the first 100% landlord major port in 2023, attracting private investments for improved operations and increased EXIM trade volumes.
The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEEC) holds significant importance for India’s shipping sector. The corridor aims to restore India’s historical maritime prominence by enhancing connectivity with vital economic regions, reducing transportation costs and time, making it attractive to global shippers. The government envisions investments of about Rs 80 lakh crore in the Indian maritime sector until 2047.
Looking ahead, the focus is on evolving connectivity infrastructure for ports and shipping. Emphasis is placed on seamless multi-modal connectivity to facilitate efficient cargo transfer across waterways, trucks, and trains. Integrating transportation modes is expected to result in cost savings and improved market access. The adoption of new technologies, such as intelligent sensors and automated systems, will enable real-time monitoring, proactive decision-making, and predictive maintenance.
For 2024, shipbuilding emerges as a top priority, with a focus on increasing the size of vessels that can be built in India. Goals include facilitating the construction of various vessels, promoting the use of alternative fuels, and embracing new technologies. Prime Minister Modi has outlined plans for multiple shipbuilding and repair centers across the country. Cochin Shipyard is undertaking projects to augment shipbuilding and repair capacity, including the construction of a new dry dock and an International Ship Repair Facility in Kochi, with completion expected by December 2023. Additionally, new ship repair facilities are planned in Mumbai and Vadinar, Gujarat, and a ship repair facility at Pandu, Guwahati, on the National Waterway-2 (river Brahmaputra) is under implementation.
In 2024, a key focus area is shipbuilding, with plans to increase the maximum vessel size that can be built in India. Goals include the construction of river-sea vessels, inland vessels, barges, and fishing vessels running on alternative fuels, alongside the adoption of new technologies. Prime Minister Modi’s vision includes the establishment of multiple shipbuilding and repair centers across the country. Cochin Shipyard is actively working on projects such as a new dry dock, an International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) in Kochi, and ancillary parks for suppliers and service providers. CSL has already commenced operations of a ship repair facility in Mumbai, with plans for a new facility in Vadinar, Gujarat. Additionally, the government has sanctioned a ship repair facility at Pandu, Guwahati, on National Waterway-2 for Rs 208 crore, with implementation underway.
To enhance efficiency and promote private investment, the government aims to shift major ports from the ‘service model’ to the ‘landlord model,’ with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority becoming the first 100% landlord major port in 2023. The target is to handle 85% of cargo in major ports through PPP mode by 2030, promoting contemporary technologies and boosting EXIM trade.