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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ports capacity to reach 1.5 bn tonnes by 2012: govt

The government today said the capacity of ports is likely to reach 1.5 billion tonnes over the next two years, with Rs one lakh-crore expansion programme underway for docks and shipping sector.

"We are hopeful of raising ports capacity to 1.5 billion tonnes by the end of the Eleventh Five Year Plan ( 2007-12) and expect to take 12 major ports capacity to 1 billion tonnes from the present 574.77 million tonnes (MT)," Shipping Minister G K Vasan said on the sidelines of CII meet here.

"About 200 non-major ports will have a capacity of 580 million tonnes by then (March 2012). We are implementing Rs one lakh crore National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) and out of this Rs 55,804 crore is for ports while remaining will go for shipping and inland waterways sector," Vasan said.

Ports handle around 95 per cent of the country's total trade in terms of volume and 70 per cent in terms of value. Of this, 12 major state-owned ports accounted for 70 per cent of the total traffic.

"During the last five years alone, the total traffic handled by these (major) ports has increased from Rs 344.79 MT during 2003-04 to 530.39 MT during 2008-09, representing a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 9 per cent," he said.

Given the vital role played by the shipping industry in economic development of nation, he said, the government was committed to develop world-class infrastructure at ports. The focus has been on improving the efficiency in turnaround time and pre-berthing waiting time, among others. "Average output per ship berthday has increased from 9,745 tonnes in 2006-07 to 10,464 tonnes in 2008-09. Average pre-berthing waiting time on port account decreased from 10.05 hours to 9.60 hours and average turn-around time decreased from 3.62 days to 2.44 days during the same period," he said.

In the port sector, a total of 276 projects have been identified out of which 50 have been completed with an expenditure of Rs 5,717 crore, he said, adding a total of 111 projects were there for shipping and inland waterways and 47 of these have been completed at a cost of Rs 6,266 crore.

The Ministry is looking into policy formulation to deal with issues of port efficiency and productivity among other factors, Vasan said.

India has 12 major ports-— Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mormugao, New Managalore, Cochin, Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai and Tuticorin.

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