India to invest around $240 billion in six new major portsStaff Writer | January 10, 2018
India's ambitious multi-billion dollar plan to expand existing ports, set up new ones and revive inland waterways is on track.
Asia An ambitious multi-billion dollar
The JNPT port in India's financial capital Mumbai has already received offers from around 40 companies worth an aggregate total of $9 billion in its upcoming Special Economic Zone, or SEZ, which will be focused on exports, the minister said over the weekend.
He was addressing a large gathering of overseas Indians in Singapore to mark the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
A Taiwanese company alone has promised an investment of over $900 million with the potential to create 40,000 jobs, he said without divulging the name.
India's largest container port JNPT is doubling its handling capacity and also setting up an adjacent SEZ in the face of stiff competition from private ports such as Adani Group-controlled Mundra.
"We are going to inaugurate a $1.2 billion port next month, in which Singapore has invested," Gadkari said. He was referring to the new container terminal to be opened shortly at JNPT by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals, or BMCT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's PSA International.
"The most important sector for us is shipping because of India's coastline of 7,500 km with 12 major ports, which are making good profits," the minister said.
Annual profits accruing from ports are projected at around $1.05 billion this year, more than double the amount earned four years ago, he said.
The government has lined up plans to invest around $240 billion over a few years on a multiple-projects program including setting up six new major ports such as Wadhwan and Colachel, he said.
Close to $60 billion will be invested to improve port-road and port-rail connectivity, the minister said, adding that additional sums have also been allotted for modernization and mechanization of existing ports.
The new PSA terminal in JNPT will go a long way in improving the port-rail connectivity, the minister said.
Until recently, rail has ceded share of cargo handling in JNPT, to road. However, with the setting of the new PSA terminal, the trend is likely to reverse.
State-owned rail company Container Corp. of India, or Concor, has signed a memorandum of understanding to run dedicated shuttle trains from the new terminal to consolidate containers railed between JNPT and the rest of the country. ■