The Government of India has embarked on the Sagarmala Programme with a vision to reduce logistics cost for both domestic and EXIM cargo and utilise the waterways to their potential.
Sagarmala envisions taking advantage of the 7,500 km long coastline and 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways in providing the necessary sustenance for economic growth. During the period April to September 2017, the country has recorded a growth of 3.24 per cent and has handled 326.4 million tonne of cargo as against 316.1 million tonne handled during the corresponding period of the previous year. The volume speaks for itself!
About 2,000 km of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development, which will facilitate better connectivity of ports and hence spur economic activities. Continued focus on the Sagarmala Programme - including development of coastal economic zones (CEZs) and improvement of hinterland connectivity - is expected to boost the maritime sector in the long term and stimulate economic growth.
Sagarmala, the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping, hinges on capacity expansion and modernisation of ports along India's coastline, enhancement of port connectivity to the hinterland, port-led industrialisation to promote trade and sustainable development of coastal communities. Under this programme, around 415 projects have been identified, which are expected to mobilise investment of more than Rs 8 lakh crore and generate approximately 1 crore new jobs, including 40 lakh direct jobs, over a period of 10 years. These projects are expected to increase port capacity to more than 3,000 mtpa by 2025 and generate annual logistics cost savings of close to Rs 35,000 crore.
In an exclusive interview to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, Ministry of Shipping says, 'The Sagarmala project will attract investment worth Rs 16 lakh crore, of which Rs 4 lakh crore will be related to port-led development.' He added, 'we will be awarding projects worth Rs 3.50 lakh crore by March 2018.'
A fillip to port-led development
The concept of 'port-led development' is central to the Sagarmala vision. Port-led development focuses on logistics-intensive industries (where transportation either represents a high proportion of costs or timely logistics are critical success factors). The population in adjoining areas would have to be sufficiently skilled to participate in economic opportunities on offer. The synergistic and coordinated development of four components, namely, logistics-intensive industries, efficient ports, seamless connectivity and requisite skill base, will lead to unlocking economic value and stimulating economic growth across sectors.
For holistic growth, the Sagarmala Programme includes more than 400 projects at an estimated infrastructure investment of more than Rs 8 lakh crore in areas such as:
A. Port modernisation and new port development
B. Port connectivity enhancement
C. Port-linked industrialisation
D. Coastal community development
Projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore are already under various stages of implementation and development. More than Rs 390 crore has been released for 35 projects under the Sagarmala Programme, including unique and innovative projects, such as capital dredging for Gogha-Dahej RO-Pax Ferry Services Project and RO-RO Services Project at Mandwa. Techno-economic feasibility report (TEFR) is under preparation for development of underwater viewing gallery and a restaurant at Beyt Dwarka Island.
Port modernisation & new port development
A total of 189 projects worth Rs 1.42 lakh crore have been identified for port modernisation and new port development. The master planning for 12 major ports has been finalised, under which 142 port capacity expansion projects (totalling Rs 91,434 crore) have been identified for implementation over the next 20 years. Out of this, 46 projects are already under implementation or are likely to be awarded.
While the detailed project report (DPR) has been prepared for the Sagar Island port, the ones for Vadhavan, Paradip Outer Harbour and Enayam are under preparation. For major port operational efficiency improvement, 69 initiatives have been implemented and 80 mmtpa of port capacity has been unlocked so far.
Port connectivity enhancement
Under the second pillar of Sagarmala, the Ministry has identified around 170 port connectivity enhancement projects worth Rs 2.3 lakh crore. Of these, the official said, '54 projects worth Rs 1.56 lakh crore will be implemented during the year 2017-19.'
Since the Railways also plays an important part in carrying maximum loads, the government has decided to implement 27 rail connectivity projects of which 21 projects (~3,300 km, worth Rs 28,000 crore) are being taken up by the Ministry of Railways and six projects (~151 km, worth Rs 3,590 crore) are implemented through joint venture and non-government railway (NGR) model. 'Preparation of a DPR is underway for the heavy haul rail corridor between Talcher and Paradip,' said an official from the Ministry of Railways.
Since the maximum number of freight movement is through road network, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and National Highways Authority of India had signed an MoU for the development of 79 port road connectivity projects, including 10 freight-friendly expressways. 'We have already started implementing around 14 projects,' said a former official from the Ministry of Shipping, who recently shifted to the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, the government is already implementing five out of seven multi-modal logistics parks.
According to the Ministry as many as 33 projects with estimated investment of Rs 4.2 lakh crore have been identified for port-led industrialisation. The government has already prepared the perspective plans for 14 CEZs covering all the maritime states and Union Territories. The master plans will be prepared in a phased manner with four CEZs to be taken up in phase 1. What is more, 29 potential port-linked industrial clusters have been identified across energy, materials, discrete manufacturing and maritime sectors. Master plans have been prepared for maritime clusters proposed in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The Ministry is also developing a special economic zone (SEZ) at JNPT, a free trade warehousing zone at Ennore and smart port industrial cities at Kandla and Paradip.
Promoting coastal shipping
The Ministry of Shipping has formulated a revised central sector scheme to provide financial support to major and non-major ports and state governments for creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passengers by sea or national waterways. Under the scheme, projects for construction or upgrading of exclusive coastal berths for coastal cargo and berths or jetties for passenger ferries; mechanisation of coastal berths; capital dredging for operation of non-major ports; construction of breakwaters for existing and greenfield non-major ports; construction of berths or jetties in national waterways and islands by state governments and union territories; and construction of platforms and jetties for hovercrafts and seaplanes will be considered for assistance.
The Ministry of Shipping has taken up projects worth Rs 2,302 crore for financial assistance under the coastal berth scheme of the flagship Sagarmala Programme. The projects under this scheme are distributed over eight states with the highest number of projects in Maharashtra with 12 projects, followed by 10 in Andhra Pradesh and Goa, six in Karnataka, three in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, two in Gujarat and one in West Bengal. Out of the 47 projects, 23 worth Rs 1,075.61 crore have been sanctioned for total financial assistance of Rs 390.42 crore and Rs 230.01 crore has been released to major ports, state maritime boards and state governments. The remaining 24 projects are under various stages of development and process of approval.
The most recent beneficiaries of the scheme were JNPT and Karnataka government respectively for developing coastal infrastructure at JNPT, Karwar Port and Old Mangalore Port. Around Rs 25 crore was sanctioned for the construction of coastal berth (270 m x 30 m) at JNPT. Rs 114.4 crore was sanctioned to the Karnataka government for extension of the existing southern breakwater by 145 m, construction of a new north breakwater of 1,160 m, construction of coastal berths at Karwar port and construction of coastal berth and capital dredging at Old Mangalore port.