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Govt to form committee for development of minor ports

Minor ports could boost inland waterways and coastal shipping and "we will provide comprehensive plans for development", Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 15, 2019, 06.39 PM IST
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Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya
NEW DELHI: The government is set to form a committee to assess the potential of over 150 non-major ports in the country, and link them with major ones to form a national grid for ports.

The move will help increase India’s export-import (EXIM) cargo, Shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya told reporters here on Tuesday.

At the 17th meeting of the maritime state development council, the apex advisory body for the development of the sector, representatives from maritime states, shipping ministry came together to discuss ways to increase coastal shipping and develop minor ports, among other issues.

“The meeting focussed on the fact that along with major ports, minor ports should also be developed in the country,” Mandaviya told reporters.

A plan for development of minor ports will be sent to states within six months, and they can decide whether to develop them on their own or through the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, Mandaviya said.

Of the 204 minor ports in the country, only 44 are functional. The committee will assess the potential of each minor port, their downstream industry, agricultural potential, and will then suggest a plan to states for their comprehensive development.

The Committee will consist of representatives from shipping ministry, maritime states, Indian private ports and terminals association (IPPTA), and chaired by Additional Secretary, shipping ministry, sources aware of the matter said.

“National grid for ports will be made. It will connect major ports to minor ones, so cargo reaches from minor to major ports and becomes EXIM cargo,” Mandaviya added.

At the meeting, state governments also decided to implement uniform rules, to ease the movement of barges between states.

“Because the rules are different, inter-state movement of barges becomes an issue. We have decided that through DG Shipping, we will issue common rules and guidelines for all states to implement,” Mandaviya said.

Mandaviya also stressed on the need to improve the share of coastal cargo movement from 6% at present to around 12% in the next five years.

“After this, our exim can increase to 25%,” Mandaviya said.

Meanwhile, the major ports bill will also be introduced in the Parliament to bestow the port chairman with more powers, that will help them compete with each other.

India has 12 major ports—Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Cochin, to name a few. The 204 minor ports are controlled by the states.

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