Why the Government wants to fix a minimum distance between two ports

In spite of being a cheaper and cost-effective option of cargo transportation, the shipping sector was not considered for growth until the approval of Sagarmala Program in 2015. The government’s latest concern over reducing the logistics cost of the country also has made the maritime industry more attractive.

Presently, the government is considering to enforce a law, New Indian Ports Bill, to compete with the private ports. The bill aims in enabling sustainable growth and development of all ports in India in line with international maritime obligations.

As per the law, the Centre will be empowered to fix a minimum distance between two ports or to alter the limits of any port in the country.

In recent years, the competing private ports have come up close to each other and it has become a major cause of concern, especially for the government-owned ports. The new law is expected to enable the major government ports to compete with the private ones.

At the 17th Maritime State Development Council meeting held on Tuesday, which was chaired by Shipping Minister Mansukh L Madaviya, this issue was raised and discussed thoroughly. According to the officials, the representatives from states have agreed to set up a panel which will finalise the draft ports bill for government’s consideration.

The law will be applicable to all the 13 major ports (owned by Central government) and other non-major ports (under state government or with private players) across the country.

In addition, the proposed law will enable the ports to provide minimum quality standards or minimum facilities, simple regulatory and administrative mechanism, fix charges, tariff etc.

A few years back, the Shipping Ministry had proposed a similar idea. He stated that ports should be located at least at a certain distance apart.

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