Major ports in the country handled 606.4 mt of cargo traffic during fiscal year 2015-16, as against 581.3 mt during 2014-15, recording a growth of 4.3 per cent. However, the combined traffic at major ports fell short of the 695.1 mt target set by the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) by 12.8 per cent. Kandla port handled the maximum traffic at 100 mt, followed by Paradip port at 76.4 mt and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust at 64 mt. Mormugao port posted the maximum growth in traffic at 41.2 per cent, followed by V.O. Chidambaranar port at 13.7 per cent. Four ports witnessed negative growth – Chennai (-4.7 per cent), New Mangalore (-2.7 per cent), Visakhapatnam (-1.7 per cent) and Mumbai (0.9 per cent). In terms of commodities, petroleum-oil-lubricants accounted for the highest share in the total traffic at 32.3 per cent (196.1 mt), followed by coal at 21.5 per cent (130 mt) and containers at 20.3 per cent (123.11 mt).
According to the MoS, during financial year 2015-16, 94 mt of capacity was added at major ports through 34 capital investment projects. Of this, around 50 mt was added through improvements in port efficiency. Further, projects worth Rs 728.18 billion were awarded for port modernisation and new port/terminal development during the year. Turnaround time was reduced by over 40 per cent at Paradip, V.O. Chidambaranar and Visakhapatnam ports. On the financial front, major ports increased their operating profits from Rs 35.93 billion in 2014-15 to Rs 42.68 billion in 2015-16, registering a year-on-year growth of 18.78 per cent.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs has relaxed the norms for movement of coastal cargo across different ports in the country. According to the new norms, vessels carrying coastal goods will be clearly marked with the words “for coastal carriage only” on all sides and will be exempt from examination. However, the government will carry out random checks to ensure that no export-import goods are loaded onto such coastal vessels.
The National Sagarmala Apex Committee approved the National Perspective Plan for the Sagarmala programme on April 9, 2016. A total of 150 projects involving port modernisation, connectivity, port-led industrialisation and coastal community development have been identified under the plan. These projects entail an investment of Rs 4,000 billion. The draft plan identified 40 port modernisation projects and six mega port locations. It also identified 27 clusters (nine energy, five materials and 13 discrete manufacturing) under the port-led industrialisation pillar and 14 projects under the coastal community development pillar of Sagarmala.
L&T Geostructure has secured a contract worth Rs 1.15 billion for the construction of a roll-on roll-off (ro-ro)-cum-general cargo berth at Kamarajar port. The berth will span a length of 330 metres on the northwestern edge of the existing general cargo berth in the proposed new dock basin area. The berth will help the port in handling the growing automobile exports. The project will be funded by the port trust through its internal resources and is likely to be completed in 20 months. The Mormugao Port Trust issued a letter of award to Sterlite Ports Limited, a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group, on April 15, 2016, for the redevelopment of Berth Nos. 8 and 9, barge berths and the existing mechanical ore-handling plant at the port. The project will be implemented on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis with a concession period of 30 years. The redeveloped berths are planned to handle all types of cargo including iron ore, coal and general cargo with an expected capacity of 19.22 mtpa.
The Mumbai Port Trust has issued a letter of intent to Karagwal Construction Private Limited for the construction of a ro-ro terminal at the ferry wharf in Mumbai. The terminal will be built at a cost of Rs 350 million and is expected to commence operations by October 2018. According to sources, the fare per car would be Rs 400-Rs 500 and per truck Rs 700-Rs 800.