Published Editorial

Maharashtra eyes Make in India, Sagarmala maritime booster shot

June 2016

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The Financial Express


Abhaya Krishna Agarwal
Partner Infrastructure and PPP, EY India


Rohit Ahuja
VP, TAS, EY India

Maharashtra accounts for nearly 15% of the total maritime trade in the country, with the state’s maritime trade having grown from 153 million tonne in FY15 to 154 million tonnes in FY16. Of this, nearly 80% traffic is handled at its two major ports and the remaining 20% at 12 operational non-major ports.

Major Ports

Of the two major ports in Maharashtra, JNPT is the largest (in terms of throughput) container port in India and the Mumbai port is a multi-commodity port. In term of cargo performance, nearly 40% of India’s container trade is handled at JNPT and Mumbai port accounts for about 6% of the total maritime traffic handled in the country. Both the major ports in the state are currently fraught with capacity constraints. While Mumbai port faces constraints in evacuation of cargo due to the city’s development, JNPT has been struggling with environmental issues and waterfront capacity over the last decade.

The development of the Fourth Container Terminal (FCT) at JNPT will generate additional capacity. However, after its complete development, there is limited scope for expanding JNPT’s capacity.

Keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Shipping has decided to undertake the development of Vadhavan port as a satellite port for JNPT. As per the Techno-Economic Feasibility Report prepared by AECOM in 2016, Vadhavan port is expected to handle a total traffic of around 250 million tonnes by 2038. The study envisages phase-wise development with total costs (EPC) of about R30,000 crore.

Non-major Ports

Of the various non-major ports operational in the state, three ports including Dharamtar, Jaigad and Dabhol together accounted for about 14% of the total maritime traffic handled in Maharashtra in FY16. To improve the state’s maritime infrastructure, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is developing 11 port projects. However, only one of them, the multi-purpose terminal of Karanja Infrastructure (affiliate of SKIL Ports & Logistics) at Karanja Creek is under construction, with the remaining projects under various stages of development.

The Karanja port is being developed on a 200-acre land parcel with water frontage of around 1,000 metres. As per the preliminary results released this month, around 30 Ha of land has already been reclaimed, dredging is progressing as per schedule, and 58 piles have been laid for the construction of jetty. The Karanja port would be developed with an investment of R1,000 crore and is likely to be operational in the next two years.

Policy Initiatives

Despite various policies, progress of maritime projects in Maharashtra has been limited when compared to other maritime states such as Gujarat which added nearly 84 million tonnes to its port capacity between FY13 and FY15—Maharashtra added only 19 million tonnes in that period. A majority of non-major ports in Maharashtra, especially greenfield maritime projects, are struggling with issues related to environmental clearance and hinterland connectivity whereas Gujarat has successfully addressed the challenges.

In order to accelerate the development of the maritime sector in the state, MMB has delineated the Maharashtra Maritime Development Policy (MMDP) 2016. The new policy expands and strengthens the role of MMB to provide fast-track clearances and enable faster project implementation. With such policy initiatives, the state is aiming to capitalise on projects such as ‘Make in India’·, ‘Sagarmala’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’. However, the success of the policy transformation will ultimately be driven by the state’s capacity to mobilise resources and deliver on projects at the ground level.