India to add 280 million tonnes port capacity this year

Mumbai, April 5 (IANS) The shipping ministry plans to create an additional port capacity of 280 million tonnes this year, mainly through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode, with a focus on efficiency and increasing draft, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said here Friday.

“Our approach through the PPP route has been paying off. Last year (2012-13) we awarded 32 port projects with an estimated investment of Rs.6,700 crore. We will keep the same tempo in the coming years,” Vasan said, addressing the grand finale of the 50th National Maritime Day celebrations here.

Vasan said that India was forced to depend on foreign flagships as growth in traffic had far outstripped the growth in Indian tonnage, and stressed the need to maintain adequate control over maritime activities.

“We need to seriously look at multi-modal transport system and try to ease the over dependence on road and rail by promoting coastal shipping and inland waterway systems,” Vasan said.

For this a bill to declare the Lakhimpur-Bhanga stretch of Barak Valley in Assam as National Waterway No. 6 has been introduced in Rajya Sabha, the minister said.

The National Maritime Day celebrations are aimed at creating awareness about the activities of the Indian shipping industry and its important economic role.

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