The container throughput of Indian ports stood at 17 million TEUs for the period 2020, whereas, that for China stood at 245 million TEUs for the same period. The combined container throughput across the top 20 major global ports stood at 357 million TEUs during 2020. At present, India cannot deal with ultra-large container ships as it does not have land side mega-port and terminal infrastructure and this lack of port infrastructure is stopping India from meeting global standards.
To handle ultra-large container ships the ports need a higher draft, several large cranes, better yard management capability, increased automation, larger storage facilities, more inland connectivity, and enhanced labor productivity, as the Ultra-large container ships seek speedy unloading of the large volumes they carry.
To develop global standard ports in India, Maritime India Vision (MIV) 2030 has identified several initiatives including the development of world-class mega ports, transshipment hubs, and infrastructure modernization of ports, said Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Adding further, Sonowal said that the investments are estimated to the tune of Rs. 1,00,000–1,25,000 crore for capacity augmentation and development of world-class infrastructure at Indian ports.
He said that the upcoming ports at Vizhinjam (Kerala) and Vadhavan (Maharashtra) have natural drafts over 18m. “It will enable ultra-large container and cargo vessels to call on the ports and boost the efforts to make India the world’s factory by improving the container and cargo throughput.”
What is MIV 2030?
MIV 2030 -a ten-year blueprint for the maritime sector released by the Prime Minister of India at the Maritime India Summit in November 2020, aims to boost waterways, give impetus to the shipbuilding industry and encourage cruise tourism in India.
The MIV 2030 which will supersede the Sagarmala initiative has several Policy Initiatives and Development Projects under it.
Maritime Development Fund: the sector will be provided with a low-cost long tenure financing of Rs. 25,000-crore, with the Centre contributing Rs. 2,500 crores over seven years.
Port Regulatory Authority: To enable oversight across major and non-major ports, enhance institutional coverage for ports and provide for structured growth of the ports sector to boost investor confidence, a pan-India port authority will be set up under the new Indian Ports act.
Eastern Waterways Connectivity Transport Grid project: This project will develop regional connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
Riverine Development Fund: Calls for extending low-cost, long-term financing for inland vessels with the support of a Riverine Development Fund (RDF) and for extending the coverage of the tonnage tax scheme (applicable to ocean-going ships and dredgers) to inland vessels also to enhance the availability of such vessels.
Rationalisation of Port Charges: the rationalization of the port charges will make them more competitive, besides doing away with all hidden charges levied by ship liners to bring in more transparency.
Promotion of Water Transport: For decongestion of urban areas, and developing waterways as an alternative means of urban transport.