With a target of touching 200 mtpa capacity by 2020, JSW Infrastructure has grown to become one of India´s leading infrastructure development companies. Capt BVJK Sharma, Jt MD and CEO, speaks on why Maharashtra holds an important position on India´s maritime map.
How has Maharashtra, as a maritime gateway, helped JSW Infrastructure grow its business?
Maharashtra is the most industrialised state in the country and is one of the prime movers of India´s success story. Like a true leader, Maharashtra has been showing the way to emulate in fields varying from infrastructure to industrialisation and from education to research. JNPT in Maharashtra handles almost 60 per cent of the total container business in the country, serving as the marine gateway for India, though lacking a little in bulk handling. Way back in 2006, the Maharashtra government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with eight industrial houses to develop a power plant in the Konkan region of the state. JSW Energy is one of the signatories to this scheme, (which is) planned to establish a 1200 (4 x 300) MW thermal power plant, based on imported low sulphur coal.
Seizing the opportunity, JSW Infrastructure, the Infrastructure and Logistics arm of the JSW Group, pitched in with its own commercial port at Jaigarh for supplying the imported coal to the proposed power plant. A star was born.
JSW Jaigarh Port Limited is the only modern, mechanised, deepwater and environment friendly all-weather port in the state of Maharashtra, which handles large Cape-size vessels primarily to meet the demands of another steel plant in Maharashtra, located to the north of Mumbai, at Dolvi.
The right industrial climate and receptive market scenario has made the growth trajectory of the ports in the state quite steep, and JSWIL has immensely contributed to it and has grown in the process.
The state´s flexible approach towards port policy has been helpful in encouraging new ideas and new partners. Under the able leadership of our Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, (the state) has emphasised more focus on connectivity projects. For that purpose, the Maharashtra government is likely to form a Special Purpose Vehicle - the Maharashtra Port Connectivity Corporation - a dedicated organisation for providing connectivity to ports in the state. In addition, the government is also plugging all their projects with the Sagarmala port-led development agenda.
What are your capex plans and how much of investment has been incurred on the same?
Currently, we are working on several projects in Maharashtra that include, Jaigarh port phase-II, Jaigarh connectivity, Dharmtar riverine port, Salav captive jetty, Nandgaon captive jetty and Nandgaon connectivity. The total investment that we are planning in these projects is around Rs.10,000 crore.
As far as phase II of Jaigrah port is concerned, the work is in full swing and involves construction of a container terminal, LNG terminal, crude oil & POL terminals and multipurpose berths. Once the second phase gets operationalised, the estimated capacity of Jaigarh port by 2020 will be around 80 mtpa.
We are also undertaking a greenfield captive jetty project at Nandgaon which will handle bulk, container, LNG, chemicals and other cargoes. We are expecting this facility to handle 17 mtpa by 2020 in its phase-I.
Located in Dolvi, JSW Dharmtar port is a riverine facility that will handle around 40 mtpa by 2020 with an investment of around Rs.440 crore in its initial phase. In addition to this, our two planned projects at Paradip port will have total handling capacity of 48 mtpa by 2020. So in all, we are targeting 200 mtpa of capacity through greenfield and brownfield expansions in the next four years.
Jaigarh is a Coastal Economic Zone. When will the full potential of the port be realised?
The Ministry of Shipping has identified Jaigarh port in the formation of a Coastal Economic Region (CER) in the visionary Sagarmala Project on the West Coast, along with JNPT and Mumbai port, which will drive the socioeconomic development of the region.
The Origin-Destination studies have been carried out and the National Perspective Plan has been recently released.
Once our connectivity projects get commissioned, the full potential of the port-led development through Jaigarh will be utilised. Connectivity projects such as Jaigarh-Digni and Chiplun-Karad are also at a stage where the Indian Railways is taking keen interest in completing it. The Government of India, under its Sagarmala initiative, has taken a decision to expand the two-lane highway of Jaigarh-Nivali into a four-lane highway or alternatively construct a new four-lane road in a new alignment.
In addition, our partners have received necessary sanctions for the pipeline corridor for the gas pipeline project, which will be connected to the Bengaluru-Dabhol gas pipeline. We have also prepared special coastal berths, which can berth Handy-max vessels or three 8,000 DWT Mini-Bulk Carriers (MBCs) simultaneously.
We have designed special MBCs for transhipping of bulk cargo facilities from Jaigarh to our Dharamtar Port. The material to Dharamtar will be transported by deploying specially made barges which are 120 m & 22 m wide, with 4.8 m draft and carrying capacity of 8,000 DWT. These large-capacity shallow draft MBCs would then ferry cargo from Jaigarh port, where Cape-size carriers would be deployed for bringing in raw material. The cargo will be unloaded at Jaigarh through the newly-established material handling systems. Then it will be transhipped onto these MBCs for onward transportation to Dolvi (Dharamtar).
As this happens, it will be a paradigm shift in the overall inland water transportation sector in our country. Inland water transport is a subject where every river has a different solution, and it all depends on the dimensions like bends, depths, type of soil, the length and width of the river, the tidal prism and traffic density of the river. So every river will have its own tailormade solutions.
Can inland water transport give the much-required push to the shipbuilding sector?
In India, river-specific ships need to be built, hence the operators need to have a long-term agreement either with the government or its PSUs or private river-based industries.
It´s like a four-points based strategy. Make the river navigable, build maritime fixed and floating infrastructure, improve the connectivity to fixed infrastructure and encourage and support industrial development.
What is Maharashtra´s importance in Inland Water Transport (IWT) and coastal shipping?
Maharashtra has been blessed with 720 km of coast and many rivers. If the government addresses the siltation of the river mouth and makes those rivers navigable up to a certain distance within the river and allow river-based industrial development and residential development, the state will have greater importance on the maritime map of India.
For example, NTPC has coal-based power plants in Maharashtra and Karnataka and the coal movement for the same is currently dependent on the Railways. If the coal is coming from Jharkhand through the Railways, then instead of transporting it all the way from that state, the authorities can swap the transport mode at Talcher, get it transported to Paradip, load it in a Cape-size vessel, and then transport it to Jaigarh and again transport it via railways to NTPCs´ plant at Solapur. In fact, this exercise has the potential to save Rs.2,000 crore in logistics cost for the NTPC plants in Solapur and Kudgi.
What are the steps the Maharashtra government must take to strengthen the state´s maritime economic power?
The government must encourage the creation of world-class maritime infrastructure. At the same time, an integrated and coordinated approach is required towards the development of each transport mode, i.e., road, rail, inland water transport and pipeline connectivity, for better evacuation and movement of goods in and out from the state.
The focus on port-led development will bring in port-based industrialisation, urbanisation, creation of logistics parks, development of coastal tourism, etc., which will have an overall impact on the socio-economic development of the port-based regions, strengthening the state as a maritime economic power.