JNPT inks MoU with MMB for developing satellite port off Dahanu

June 8, 2015 11:29 am Published by

To be a top facility with 20 m natural draught

If all goes as per plan, India will in a few years have its 13th Major Port. In what has been described as a historic initiative, where the Centre and a state are cooperating for the first time on such a project, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here on June 5, 2015 for the development of a satellite port for JNPT off Vadhavan Point, South of Dahanu port on the coast of Maharashtra.

The documents were signed and exchanged by Mr Neeraj Bansal, Chairman of JNPT, and Mr Asheesh Sharma, CEO of MMB, in the presence of Mr Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Mr Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr Rajive Kumar, Shipping Secretary, and Mr Swadheen Kshatriya, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, besides other invitees that included the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Mumbai Port and representatives from the maritime trade.

The port would be established as a corporate entity under Companies Act 2013, with JNPT having an equity share not exceeding 74 per cent and the government of Maharashtra having an equity share not exceeding 26 per cent in the new port company. It could be developed as a landlord port with the basic port infrastructure being created by the port company, and the berths, terminals and associated facilities being developed with private participation on PPP mode.

It was pointed out that the location had the advantage of being clear of fishing activities, with a deep water draught of more than 20 metres. Nearly 4.5 nautical miles from the coast, land would be reclaimed and a breakwater built to construct the facility.

Mr Bansal told Exim India that it would be a mega, modern facility, a multipurpose port capable of handling all types of cargo.

Mr Gadkari, in his address, said he was hoping that the foundation stone for the project—estimated to cost Rs 5,500-6,000 crore—would be laid by the Prime Minister by December. He stressed that the facility will not disturb the fishing harbour or forest area, and does not entail any land acquisition.

The requisite short rail and road connectivity to the proposed port would be developed expeditiously, he added.

He emphasised that such infrastructure projects, among them being the JN Port-based SEZ (launched some time back), would provide employment to the youth, besides numerous other benefits. He added that the government would be exploring the potential of developing more such projects in the maritime sector, including in shipbuilding and ship repair.

The work on 8-laning of the roads connecting JN Port would begin soon, with Rs one lakh crore worth of road sector projects likely to be completed in five years, he said.

A decision on Rewas port (in the Raigad District of Maharashtra) would be taken soon, the Minister said. He also disclosed plans to have a campus of the Indian Maritime University in Ratnagiri. Rewas has been reportedly held up due to issues regarding right of way with MbPT.

Mr Devendra Fadnavis described the project as an example of “cooperative federalism” (a pet theme of the Prime Minister), with the Centre partnering states in development, and a new benchmark for port-led development. He too stressed that all environmental issues concerning the project had been addressed.

The Chief Minister said that MMB would be facilitating the development of more ports in Maharashtra, and would be working with the Railways to provide rail connectivity to the facilities.

Mr Neeraj Bansal, in his welcome address, said Vadhavan Point was chosen, from among nine locations, subsequent to a direction to Major Ports from the Ministry of Shipping to identify locations for new ports. He added that the sector was undergoing huge change, with the bigger ships that were being deployed requiring deeper draughts and increased mechanisation at ports. The proposed satellite port, with its natural draught of 20 metres, would match the best of international standards, he emphasised.

Mr Rajive Kumar expressed the hope that the project would be completed in 2-3 years. Mr Swadheen Kshatriya also spoke briefly on the occasion.

 

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