Concerned about new ports eating into the profitability and business of India’s 12 major ports, a parliamentary panel has recommended that no new port be allowed in 100 km vicinity of top ports without a nod from the board. The recommendation assumes significance in the wake of 12 major ports losing about 33 per cent market share to non-major and private ports. “New ports are coming up in the vicinity of major ports affecting their business and profitability. The committee, therefore, recommends that no new ports be established in the 100 km vicinity of existing major ports without the permission of board..,” Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport said in its latest report. The 31-member committee, chaired by Mukul Roy has given its recommendations after examining the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016, referred to it by the Rajya Sabha Chairman on January 12 this year.
The bill seeks to provide greater autonomy to the 12 ports in decision-making besides repealing of Major Port Trusts Act of 1963. The committee said the need for restricting new ports was felt as there has been a paradigm shift with non-major ports and private ports accounting for more than 40 per cent of market share of the cargo handled. “The major ports have lost around 33 per cent of their market share in the last two decades. Moreover, transhipment of containers is taking place in foreign ports such as Colombo, Singapore which causes great loss to Indian ports,” it said.
India has 12 major ports under the Centre – Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) which handle approximately 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic. Besides, there are about 200 non-major ports and private ports in the country. The 12 ports handled a record 647.43 million tonnes (MT) of cargo in 2016-17 registering an annual growth rate of 6.79 per cent against 4.32 per cent in 2015-16.