Centre clears Rs 7,800-crore port development projects

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2010, 05:02am hrs
The government on Thursday cleared three port development projects worth nearly Rs 7,800 crore, the most significant of which is the nod to develop a fourth container terminal at Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

The terminal, which will cost nearly Rs 6,700 crore, would be developed through public private partnership (PPP) and will add a capacity of 4.8 million twenty feet equivalent units (TEUs) a year to JNPTs existing capacity. Currently, the port has a cargo handling capacity of 29.2 million tonne at the end of 2008-09, according to shipping ministry data.

The government expects the terminal to improve export-import trade through the coast of Mumbai. Increase in physical capacity and improvement in efficiency of JNPT would be for the benefit of the nation in terms of development, progress and boost Exim trade, said urban development minister Jaipal Reddy, after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed and commissioned within a period of three years from the date of signing of the concession agreement, while the second phase will be implemented in two years. Construction of Phase II will commence on or before the annual throughput at the terminal reaches 1 million TEUs subject to the condition that Phase II shall be commissioned within a period of eight years from the date of signing of the concession agreement, the statement added. The project will be awarded through competitive bidding and the infrastructure will be based on international technology for handling the cargo that reduces turn around time of vessels.

At the same time, a standalone container handling facility is being set up north of JNPT with a capacity of more than 0.8 million TEUs per annum. The project, to be implemented within two years of award of the concession, is expected to cost Rs 600 crore and will be built on a Design Finance Build Operate Transfer (DFBoT) basis.

In a bid to boost the country's energy security, the Cabinet's infra panel also cleared a major spruce up for the coal import facilities at the outer harbour of the Visakhapatnam Port.