There are many efforts put in by the central and state governments to make India a global transshipment hub. One of the tools used to bring about the desired change is multimodal transportation. In that direction, the government has been working towards including the three major ports of West India, namely the State-run Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA), and Deendayal Port Authority, as well as the Gautam Adani-owned Mundra port, as part of the transnational rail and shipping corridor spread across continents. The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) promises to enhance trade and connectivity across Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
Earlier this month, a MoU for the creation of IMEC was signed between Saudi Arabia, the European Union, India, the UAE, France, Germany, Italy, and the US on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi. These countries are expected to meet in November 2023 to firm up the details. The IMEC will include two separate corridors – one in the East connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and other in the North, connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe. The IMEC was constructed to enhance road, rail, and maritime connectivity in a bid to increase the transit of goods and services between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe.
Jebel Ali Port (Dubai), Mina Zayed Port (Abu Dhabi), and Fujairah Port, are also expected to be part of the IMEC.
“We are formulating a comprehensive port master plan that encompasses proactive measures to ramp up cargo handling and construct world-class infrastructure. Studies will start soon. It will be across ministries.”Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways
According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways sources, new port development at Vadhavan (off Mumbai), the setting up of a container terminal at Tuna Terka (Kandla), and the expansion of JNPA will be taken up as part of the master plan to position them as a central hub for international trade, particularly through the IMEEC.
Another source said that a decision on the ports in Saudi Arabia has yet to be communicated. The Arab country has more than 10 ports. However, the King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam and Ras Al Khair could also be considered.