Centre to sign pacts worth over Rs.72,000 cr at shipping summit

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The government is expected to sign agreements worth over Rs. 72,000 crore with private players on port-related projects at the Indian Maritime Summit to be held in Mumbai next month.

The Ministry of Shipping has identified 109 projects worth Rs.72,864 crore on which agreements will be signed during the event to be held from April 14-16. South Korea will be the partner country for the Summit, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Wednesday.

The sectors identified for investment include ship-building, ship repair and recycling, port modernisation, new port development and multi-model logistic hubs among others.

Mr. Gadkari said, in addition, more than 150 projects will be showcased for investment under the Sagarmala Project for port modernisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the summit on April 14.

“We are planning to create 40 lakh direct employment and 50 lakh indirect employment (opportunities)in five years in the maritime sector,” Mr. Gadkari said.He said high logistic costs was one of the factors hurting the manufacturing sector.

The Minister said while logistic cost was 18 per cent in India, it was 8-10 per cent in China and 10-12 per cent in European countries.

“If development near ports happen and we are able to cut the logistic costs by four per cent, the exports will double,” the Minister said.

Mr. Gadkari said the government will award tenders for 15 projects worth Rs. 6,700 crore before March 31 in addition to the ongoing projects.

Under the Sagarmala Project, the major development programmes identified by the government include port modernisation (Rs. 90,000 crore), port connectivity (Rs.1.20 lakh crore) and port-led industrialisation (Rs.90,000 crore) besides coastal community development.