A study by IIM Ahmedabad shows that Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) would be the logical choice for a hub port on the west coast based on the commercial criteria.
However, from an infrastructure perspective, the port does not have the draft to accommodate future generation vessels. Mundra is better placed as far as draft is concerned, the study shows.
The study, which calls for two hub ports, one each in the east and west coast, identifies Visakhapatnam as the most viable port for hub operations on the east.
It is in the centre of India's eastern coast and can service Bangladesh and Myanmar. It has a natural water draft of 20 metre, within a nautical mile from the coast, owing to which there is minimal capital dredging requirement. The sea drift there is such that maintenance dredging requirements are also less.
The study pointed out that ports such as JNPT, Mumbai and Pipavav, on the West coast; Kochi and Chennai in the South and Visakhapatnam in the East, offer high potential in their readiness levels to start hub operations.
The key requirements of a transhipment terminal are potential to reduce transport costs using a ‘hub and spoke' arrangement, less need for dredging and the facility to receive higher-capacity vessels.
In the backdrop of the tremendous growth in container traffic in the past few years, there seems to be immense scope to augment the transhipment hub and feeder operations in India, possibly one each on the East and West coast, the study shows.