Maharashtra Maritime Board, JNPT plan all-weather port at Wadhwan

May 19, 2015 11:25 am Published by

The Maharashtra government has taken a decision to revive the development of an all-weather port at Wadhwan. Maharashtra Maritime Board and Jawaharlal Nehru Port will form a joint venture to develop the port. Both are currently in talks to fix the handling capacity up to 100 million tonnes  annually. The project entails an investment of Rs 10,000 crore.

The project was originally planned in 1997 by the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government with the involvement of a global port construction and management company P&O. The project cost at that time was estimated at $950 million for setting up a 30-berth port. However, the government scrapped the project owing to strong opposition from the local villagers and various political parties.

A senior state government official told Business Standard: “The Union shipping ministry has held at least four meetings with the representatives of Maharashtra Maritime Board and JNPT to discuss the project and its viability. One more meeting is proposed this week. The joint venture options include 51:49, 50:50 and 74:26. Maharashtra Maritime Board is not a cash-rich undertaking and, therefore, might opt for a 26 per cent equity, that too in the form of land and related infrastructure. The final decision will be taken during course of discussions.”

According to the official, the port site is ideal with a draft of 18 metres and it is connected with rail and road. “Besides, the port will be able to cater to increasing cargo traffic considering constraints of the Mumbai Port and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port,” said the official. The other ports being proposed and those operational in the state include Rewas, Dighi, Jaigad, Vijaydurg, Redi and Karanja, he added.

Shipping and ports expert Atul Kulkarni said the development of a port north of Mumbai is the need of the hour and it is an economic decision. “Sufficient land is available there in addition to rail and road connectivity. The port site is quite convenient as it is close to industrial centre in the state. The Mumbai Port is almost 140 years old, while Jawaharlal Nehru Port has exhausted the water front. Therefore, Wadhwan port is expected to be a mega port to handle more volumes.”

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