NEW DELHI: The Major Ports at Chennai, Paradip and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai are developing satellite ports as part of their expansion plans.
While Chennai and Pondicherry Ports signed an agreement on 14 March to convert the one in Pondicherry as a satellite port for Chennai, talks are on to expand Outer Harbour Paradip Port to be made a satellite port for Paradip Port.
Similarly, Mormugao Port in Goa is also exploring options to expand port infrastructure, including constructing a satellite port at Betul in Goa.
JNPT, which ships more than half the containerized cargo passing through India’s ports, is in the process of acquiring Vadhavan Port in Maharashtra, which was approved by the Government in 2015 to act as its satellite port.
“Over the last three years, the Major Ports have started showing remarkable performance. It’s a growth story for which investment is required,” said one o the officials from Shipping Ministry.
India has envisaged Rs8 trillion of investment until 2035 under the Sagarmala programme, which involves the construction of new ports to harness the Country’s 7,517km coastline and setting up of as many as 142 cargo terminals at Major Ports.
Experts term it as a good move given that some of the Major Ports are choked for capacity.
Manish Sharma, Transport and Logistics leader at consulting firm PwC endorses the concept of satellite ports.
Chennai Port’s agreement with Pondicherry will help revive the commercial operations of Pondicherry Port as there is a huge potential for coastal movement of container cargo from the Pondicherry Port’s hinterland.
JNPT handles more than 40% of India’s total container traffic utilizing all of its own container handling capacity and serves a vast hinterland comprising all of Northern and Western India.
“Once the fourth container terminal becomes ready for operation, there would be limited space in JNPT and thus it has been decided to develop a satellite port for JNPT. The proposed location is about 190km North of JNPT and has deep draft of about 20 metres close to shore, which makes it feasible to handle bigger size of container ships,” said the second official.
The port would be developed as a joint venture (JV) between JNPT and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) having 74% and 26% equity, respectively.