Ports told to up cargo capacity

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2010, 06:23am hrs
The government on Monday asked management of all ports in the country to increase their cargo handling capacity in order to meet the growing demands of the economy.

Indian ports currently have a capacity of close to 900 million tonnes (MT) and major ports account for 617 MT of that. Emphasising the need to increase the capacity, shipping secretary K Mohandas said, This will help in curbing all kinds of delays and queuing at ports.

He was addressing a meeting of Maritimes State Development Council (MSDC) in Chennai on Monday. MSDC is a meeting of management of all portsmajor and non-majorand state maritime boards of the country. As per Economic Survey 2009-10, the turnaround time of ports, mainly major ones, is way below the global standards.

At the end of 2008-09, the average turnaround time of major ports was 3.87 days, compared to 10 hours in Hong Kong. Shipping ministry is in the process of developing an action plan to increase ports capacity by 10% a year. It is working out modalities of National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) till year 2020. The target for expanding the capacity of major ports to more than 1,000 MT under the current NMDP, which ends in March 2012, will be missed by as much as 40%.

The Indian ports would have to handle traffic of about 2.5 billion tonnes by 2020. So the port capacity should do up to at least 3.5 billion tonnes so they are geared up to handle this traffic, the secretary said. He also asked state governments to increase their participation and promotional efforts by creating an investment-friendly environment for public-private participation projects in port development.