NEW DELHI: Two mega port projectsentailing an initial investment of about Rs 15,000 crore are likely to get the Cabinet’s approval this week. The ports are proposed to be built in Colachel in Tamil Nadu and Dahanu in Maharashtra under the public-private partnership or PPP model.
“These two projects are likely to get Cabinet clearance this week. Two more major port proposals, one in Sagar in Maharashtra and another in Andhra Pradesh, will be sent for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs’ clearance next month,” a senior shipping ministry official said.
India’s 12 major ports handle close to 600 million tonnes of cargo traffic. The government has set a target of doubling this in the next five years.
The Colachel port in south Tamil Nadu is envisaged as a southern gateway of trans-shipment in the country. The port will have an initial investment of Rs 6,000 crore for phase I. It will be completed in three phases, at a total cost of Rs 21,000 crore and a total capacity of about 50 million tonnes, the official said, requesting not to be named.
The government will issue tenders by March end to find a consultant for the proposed trans-shipment port. The project will involve reclaiming 500 acres of land from the sea.
“Large container ships need about 18 metres of water depth. Colachel is already a natural harbour with water that is 20 metre deep,” the official said.
Big vessels currently dock at facilities in Colombo and Singapore, from where the cargo is sent to the smaller ports on feeder ships. India wants to move its cargo traffic from the Sri Lankan port as the facility has been developed by the Chinese.
According to official estimates, about 25% of Indian cargo is currently trans-shipped at international hub ports, resulting in a considerable revenue loss for domestic and major ports.
The Dahanu port is being positioned as a multi-cargo port and is aimed at decongesting the country’s largest container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. The proposed satellite port, which has a natural draft of 20 metres, will be located 4.5 nautical miles off the Dahanu coast about 150 km from Mumbai.