labels: jawaharlal nehru port terminal, industry - general, shipping, ports, transportation
JNPT to be developed as a hub port under Sagarmala project news
Sajeev Nair
10 February 2004

Mumbai: Jawaharlal Nehru Port Terminal (JNPT), the largest transhipment terminal in the country, will be developed as a hub port in the next three years under Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's Sagarmala dream project.

The port will be developed with private sector participation with the emphasis on improving infrastructure facilities, deepening of approach channels which would enable a faster turnaround for vessels docking at the port, according to Ravi Buddhiraja, chairman, JNPT.

The Sagarmala Project aims to create a port-studded coastline for India, focusing on developing all major and minor ports in the region, with an outlay of around Rs 100,000 crore.

JNPT is also planning to invest around Rs 600 crore to develop deeper navigation facilities, of which between 10 to 12 per cent will be used for annual maintenance. The approach channel will be deepened to 13.5 metres, which will enable the port to handle fourth and fifth generation container ships, Buddhiraja said.

The channel depth of the port is currently 10.9 metres, with a quayside draft of 13.5 metres, as a result of which it can handle only third generation container ships. "If the port has the capability to handle fourth and fifth generation mother vessels, Indian exporters and importers will not have to tranship their consignment through other countries," says Kishore G Apte, deputy chairman, JNPT.

The projections are based on a feasibility study conducted by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), he said, adding that the development would reduce transshipments at neighbouring ports like Colombo, Singapore and Dubai.

A reduction in freight rates from the country is also likely, if the port is transferred into a hub port.

Construction of an additional railway track, apart from the single track, which would link the port to the Indian Railways, upgrading approach roads from the national highways and to Navi Mumbai by doubling the current width are also on the anvil, he said.

The shipping minister Shatrughan Sinha, who inaugurated a hawkers' zone at JNPT said that a proposal for the development of JNPT as a hub port would be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. The development of the hub port would help in increasing forex flows into the country, he added.

JNPT had received financial support of Rs 956 crore from the Government of India, World Bank and other port trusts, of which the port has refunded Rs 468.28 crore.

The port has achieved a combined throughput of 2,174,000 TEUs with Nava Seva International Container Terminal (NSICT) in 2003, up by a notable 17.5 per cent from the 1,850,345 TEUs handled in 2002. The increase in container traffic has resulted in an increase in operating income by 18.53 percent over the previous year.

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JNPT to be developed as a hub port under Sagarmala project