As part of its efforts to enable handling of larger vessels in ports, the Union Shipping Ministry has undertaken an exercise of dredging the existing ports, a senior official said today.
The ministry expects at least four ports in the country to be able to handle bigger ships in the next three years.
“We are dredging our existing ports to take up larger ships because the size of ships is growing (world over) and they need a deep draft (to berth).
“We expect that in another three years, at least four ports will be ready to handle up to 18 metre draft large ships, which is the largest one (currently),” Shipping Secretary Rajiv Kumar said during the Regional Editors Conference here.
Stating that the Ministry has taken steps to develop six new ports, including the Inayam port near Colachal in Tamil Nadu, he said the plan is to set up Inayam as a major transshipment port to complement the facilities created by Vizhinjam port in Kerala.
Noting that the ports in the country reached a milestone of handling USD 1 billion worth of cargo last year, he said, “All the major ports have shown great improvement in efficiency as well as in profitability.”
“Efforts have also been taken to double the capacity of the ports, including the private sector by 2025,” he added.
In the next 10 years, capacity of 1,500 million tonnes will go upto 3,000 million tonnes, he said.
For faster movement of cargo and containers at ports, he said RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags would be implemented in all the ports.
“We have undertaken a major efficiency improvement programme. All our ports are now going to be given RFID tags for tracking containers and within a year we will be having scanners so that rapidly all the containers can be scanned,” he said.
On the policy framework taken up by the ministry, he said, “We intend to introduce two major initiatives during the winter session of Parliament. One is the Major Ports Authority Act, which will revamp the major ports and the other is completely new Merchant Shipping Act, which governs all shipping activities.”
He further said three major shipping PSUs – Shipping Corporation of India, Dredging Corporation of India and Cochin Shipyard Ltd – have shown increased “profitability.”