With a view to step up port-connectivity, for major and non-major ports, the government is eyeing infrastructure investment of around Rs 2 lakh crore under the Sagarmala project. More than 80 connectivity projects have been identified to ensure that ports are properly connected to the country’s major production and consumption centres. The government’s plan includes last mile road and rail connectivity infrastructure to ports, new pipelines for transporting crude and petroleum products, freight expressways, heavy haul rail projects to transport coal and development of prioritized inland waterways and new multi-modal logistics hubs.
According to a Ministry of Shipping release, the government is regularly monitoring port projects to modernise and upgrade them. The aim is to increase the capacity of ports and to bring them up to international standards. This, the government plans to do by constructing and modernising berths, installing state-of-the-art equipment and the mechanising cargo handling system at ports, including dredging projects in order to accommodate large vessels at major ports. The government is hopeful that with higher capacity at major ports, the traffic will gradually increase, said MoS Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has in the past said that the government plans to invest Rs 25 lakh crore to strengthen inland waterways, ports and rail-road links. These projects, Gadkari has said, will create four crore jobs. The 12 public ports in the country have made an overall profit of Rs 6,000 crore this year and the government aims to raise the profit up to Rs 35,000-40,000 crore in four years, the minster has said.