The Union Minister for Shipping, Mr G. K. Vasan, has stressed on increasing cargo handling capacity at the India's 12 Major Ports to 3.2 billion tonnes by 2020, up from the present one billion tonnes, Exim News Service reports.
According to a report, he has written to the coastal state governments of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala asking them to identify and provide land for setting up a new Major Port or shipbuilding yard. The response will determine the number of ports to be developed, timelines and costs, the report said.
It quoted a study by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, which stressed that it was important to focus on developing a few deepwater ports at strategic locations on both the east and west coasts to handle larger vessels and reduce total transport cost through hub-and-spoke arrangements.
At present, much of the country's container traffic is transhipped at ports such as Colombo, Singapore, Dubai and Salalah, which entails double handling of cargo that ought to be handled in India.
It is estimated that by 2015-16 India's container traffic will grow to 21 million TEUs, of which nine million TEUs will be hubbed, almost all of it overseas.
As per data released by the Indian Ports Association, cargo volumes rose to 569 million tonnes in 2011, while container throughput grew by 9.37 per cent to 7.5 million TEUs year-on-year.
The Major Ports handle 67 per cent of the country's total cargo throughput.