Railways to take up Rs 20,000-crore port connectivity projects


NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways will take up 21 port-rail connectivity projects, at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore, under the government’s Sagarmala project to strengthen evacuation network and boost last-mile connectivity to the country’s ports.

In addition, another six projects are being considered by the Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL).

“The Ministry of Railways will be taking up 21 port-rail connectivity projects, at an estimated cost of more than Rs 20,000 crore, as identified under the port-connectivity enhancement objective of Sagarmala,” a Shipping Ministry statement said.

IPRCL has already awarded three connectivity projects for Vishakhapatnam and Chennaiports for quick evacuation of cargo and another 19 projects are in the pipeline.

Many port-rail connectivity projects have been identified as part of National Perspective Plan, April 2016, under the Sagarmala programme, including development of heavy haul rail line from Ib Valley/Talcher to Paradip.

The project will help in transportation of thermal coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) to various coastal power plants in southern India through coastal shipping.

Other rail connectivity projects like Tuticorin and non-Major ports like Dhamra, Gopalpur, Krishnapatnam have also been proposed.

These projects will enhance port connectivity to the hinterland and help in reducing logistics costs and time for cargo movement making Indian trade more competitive.

Sagarmala is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping for promoting port-led development along India’s 14,500 km long coastline.

“More than 150 projects have been identified which will mobilise investment of more than Rs 4 lakh crore and generate approximately one crore new jobs, including 40 lakh direct jobs, over a period of 10 years,” the statement said.

These projects are expected to generate annual logistics cost savings of around Rs 35,000 crore and provide boost to merchandise exports by USD 110 billion by 2025.