In order to bring the Major Ports in India at par with its contemporaries across the world, the Indian Ministry of Shipping has been emphasizing on creation of additional capacities through development and construction of new berths/terminals, revamp of existing berths and terminals and other modernization projects. The Ministry’s focus is on improving the existing port infrastructure, modernization of the existing facilities and increasing port capacity. Currently, the level of mechanization is not at par as compared with other ports across the world. For e.g. Kolkata Port is only 30% mechanized whereas Kamarajar Port at Ennore has mechanization level of upto 90%. Operations in other Ports are also mechanized to varying degrees.
As part of the modernization process, Ministry of Shipping had hired a consultant for benchmarking the efficiency and productivity of major ports in India vis-a-vis international standards and suggest roadmap for improvement. A total of 101 recommendations were made by the consultant regarding improving the operations and efficiency of the Major Ports. These recommendations are under various stages of implementation.
Here, it must be noted that 26 investment projects with an investment of Rs. 10,543 crores and capacity of 155 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) were approved in 2014-15. During 2015-16, a total of 30 projects are to be awarded which will involve an investment of Rs. 14,225 crores and capacity enhancement by 162 MTPA.
The Ministry has also taken note of B.K. Chaturvedi Committee recommendations which stress on the need to increase draught of Major Ports to at least 14 meters, and in ports where it is technically feasible and economically efficient, the draught should be increased to 17 meters so that these ports can be developed into hub ports. The Ministry has taken initiatives to increase draft at Major Ports. All Major Ports except two namely VOC Port and Kolkata Port can handle 14 meter draft vessels. Dredging work is being carried out to increase the draft by 18 meters in order to cater to capesize vessels in two Major Ports namely Mormugao and Kamarajar . The investment in these dredging projects is estimated to be to the tune of Rs. 793 crores.