05 June 2020

Interaction- Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust

Sagarmala will double the share of inland and coastal waterways


The Central governments ambitious SagarmalaProgramme is expected to bring a whirlwind transformation through initiatives such as setting up of new mega ports, modernization of India's existing ports, development of 14 NEZs (National Employment Zones) , enhancement of port connectivity via road, rail, multi-modal logistics parks, pipelines & waterways and promote coastal community development. In an exclusive interview with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, SANJAY BHATIA, CHAIRMAN OF MUMBAI PORT TRUST speaks about the role of Sagarmala in port development, steps taken for port connectivity, impact on logistics and the range of opportunities.




Since the launch of SagarmalaProgramme in 2015, there has been a surge in the rise of infrastructure projects by the Indian Government. In this regards, tell us about your participation in the projects under Sagarmala.


SagarmalaProgramme is the first of its kind for promoting port-led development in India. More than 600 projects have been identified under Sagarmala with more than Rs 8.7 Lac crore of infrastructure investment. As per approved implementation plan of Sagarmala, projects are to be taken up by the relevant Central Ministries/State Governments/UTs/State Maritime Boards/ Ports primarily through funding in Private/PPP mode.


Total of 27 projects are taken up by Mumbai Port Trust costing about Rs 6630 crore. These includes projects on development of Cruise and water Tourism, enhancing capacity, improving and upgrading current infrastructure, Enabling IT and automation, construction of a super specialty hospital. Out of these, 11 projects are under the Sagarmala programme. 6 of these projects have already been completed/implemented and remaining are close to completion.





Shipping is a crucial sector for India considering the huge coastline the nation has. The sector has not performed much growth. How will Sagarmala play a role in reviving the shipping sector?


With Sagarmala programme, the government aims to modernise the ports and to integrate them with special economic zones (SEZs), port-based smart cities, industrial parks, warehouses, logistics parks and transport corridors. It is estimated that India can save up to $28 billion in infrastructure investment and another $3.3 billion in transportation cost if 50 percent of overall trade moves closer to ports by 2020.The projects identified under Sagarmala Programme are expected to have the long term impact on mobilization of infrastructure investment, double the share of inland and coastal waterways in the modal mix, yield cost savings of $5.3-6.1 bn in logistics annually, boost merchandise exports by $110 bn and create 4 mn new direct jobs and 6 mn indirect jobs.




What are the steps that will be taken under the National Perspective Plan for port-rail connectivity?


Mumbai Port has its own dedicated port rail network. For efficient operations in available window time, the port is planning to hand over the operations and maintenance of the port to IPRCL (Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited).




Under Sagarmala, there is scope for promoting coastal shipping. How will this be a benefit for the non-major ports and what steps will be taken under this?


Several initiatives are taken up under SagarmalaProgramme to promote Coastal Shipping. Inter-Ministerial Committee has been formed to resolve infrastructural/policy contraints in coastal movement of coal, steel, POL, cement, food and fertilizers. Cabotage relaxation will also help chartering of vessels for coastal movement of cargo. MoS has funded 16 Coastal Berth projects costing Rs 1200 crores. For transshipment of containers, discussion with shipping lines, port operators and industry association is being continuously facilitated by the Ministry. At Ports, green channels with dedicated berths and gates are provided for handling coastal cargo.




Sagarmala will be having a massive impact on the logistics sector as well. Your views on this?


SagarmalaProgramme aims to reduce logistics cost for EXIM and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment. This includes reducing cost of transporting domestic cargo through optimizing modal mix: Skewedness towards road increases the logistics costs as transportation through road is expensive compared to other modes. Presently about 54 per cent of transportation is through roads and only 6 per cent through coastal/waterways. SagarmalaProgramme aims to double the share of coastal shipping and inland waterways in transportation modal mix by 2025. Ministry of Shipping, under the SagarmalaProgramme has carved out the plans for improving export competitiveness by developing port proximate discrete manufacturing clusters, 14 NEZs (National Employment Zones), 2 maritime clusters, 2 CEUs (Coastal Employment Units), 2 SIPCs(Smart Industrial Port City) and 430 acres of industrialization center (SEZ) under development. Lastly, optimizing time/cost of EXIM container movement is been done by development of National Waterways and promoting coastal shipping to reduce dependency on road and rail network. These will give potential logistics cost savings of Rs 35,000 to 40,000 crores per annum by 2025.




How will the Sagarmalaprogramme open opportunities for the massive ports in India?


The vision of Sagarmalaprogramme is based on four-fold port led development, which includes, firstly, Port modernization. This aims at capacity enhancement, efficiency improvement. Second is Port Connectivity that involves construction of new roads, railway, development of coastal shipping, logistics parks. Third is Port-led Industrialisation which we have already talked about such as Industrial clusters, CEZs, Maritime clusters etc. Last and most important component under the SagarmalaProgramme is the Coastal Community Development.




We are lacking speciality dry docks for ship repairs. What are your views on this?


Yes, this is true that Indian Ports are lacking speciality dry docks for ship repair. At present, India has only 35 ship repairing units when compared to China, which has 176 dedicated ship repair yards in addition to 316 shipbuilding yards.


However, there are other ship repair yards that are coming up both on the east and west coast of India. Mumbai Port has its own dry dock, named as Hughes Dry Dock which is 305 x 30 meters, built in 1914 and is one of the largest dry dock on the western coast of India. Port has got into anMoU with Cochin Shipyard Limited for Modernisation and upgradation of its dry dock and to develop a world class integrated ship repair facility at Mumbai. CSL will also develop a floating dry dock at under-utilised berths at Indira dock basin.




In terms of growth, how has 2018 been so far for you?


Mumbai Port has seen increase in POL & Chemicals, Automobiles and Project Cargo in 2017-18 as compared to the 2016-17. Project cargo handled by the port was 94569 MT. Automobiles export has increased to 229692 units in the previous year which makes Mumbai Port as the second largest exporter port in the country in terms of automobile. The port has been working to improve the coastal movement of cargo. Total Coastal shipping Traffic has increased by 20 per cent in last 4 years. Port is making special efforts in upgradation and modernization of its domestic and international cruise terminals with more passenger amenities. In the year 2017-18, 40 cruise ships arrived in Mumbai carrying approx. 56,601 passengers. In 2018-19, Mumbai port is expecting about 45 cruise vessels to arrive.


A number of projects are running in parallel for improving traffic, development of cruise and water tourism, enhancing capacity of the port and enabling IT and automation for the ease of doing business.


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