The Union Minister responsible for Ports, Shipping, Waterways, and AYUSH, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, shared a vision for India’s maritime sector during the 19th Maritime States Development Council meeting held in Kevadia, Gujarat. He talked about important plans that could bring about significant changes.
Shri Sonowal highlighted that the Government is going to create the Bureau of Port Security to improve security at all ports across the country. He also talked about the Government’s focus on sustainable development and shared a big plan to establish Hydrogen Hubs at both Central and State Government ports. He said, “We want to explore the idea of creating Hydrogen Hubs at all these ports.” He also mentioned that the Deendayal Port Authority has already made agreements worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore for this initiative.
Additionally, Shri Sonowal announced that the country is committed to increasing its port capacity fourfold under the Amrit Kaal Vision for Ports. He explained that all major ports have developed their plans for how they will look in 2047, and states are also working on similar plans. He said, “By 2047, the total port capacity in our country will increase from the current 2,600 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to over 10,000 MTPA.”
The 19th Maritime State Development Council meeting in Kevadia, Gujarat, a two-day event organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, aimed to improve coordination between major and notified ports, State Maritime Boards, State Governments, and Union Territories (UTs). The Council was established in 1997 to develop the Maritime Sector and ensure the integrated growth of major and other notified ports.
Shri Sonowal also mentioned India’s increasing importance in maritime affairs and the upcoming Global Maritime India Summit 2023. He announced that all maritime states and Union Territories will participate in the summit, making it one of the biggest events of its kind in the country. The summit, scheduled to be held in New Delhi from October 17th to 19th, aims to bring together key figures from the maritime industry to explore opportunities and challenges and encourage investment in India’s maritime sector.
Furthermore, Shri Sonowal emphasized that India’s maritime sector is set for significant growth, with investment prospects totaling over 10 lakh crore. He stressed that this potential economic boost could provide jobs for more than 15 lakh young people in the country, aligning economic progress with social empowerment. The involvement of private players is increasing, with Public-Private Partnership (PPP) terminals handling about half of the cargo at major ports, and efforts are being made to raise this to around 85% in the future. This move towards privatization is expected to improve efficiency and expand operations.
Moreover, there’s a strong focus on enhancing cargo movement on India’s National Waterways, which saw a 16% increase in the last fiscal year. The government aims to achieve a substantial 500 MTPA by 2047. Shri Sonowal also mentioned the Sagarmala Programme, which has significantly improved port capacity, connectivity, and operational efficiency over the past eight years.
In his address, Shri Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State for MoPSW, stressed the importance of adopting new technologies, promoting sustainable practices, and ensuring environmental safety for the betterment of coastal populations.