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India’s shipping minister aims for 300% growth in port handling capacity by 2047

India's shipping minister aims for 300% growth in port handling capacity by 2047
India's shipping minister aims for 300% growth in port handling capacity by 2047

The country is working on a big expansion of its sea and river ports, aiming for almost a 300 percent increase in cargo handling capacity by 2047. The Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, announced this at a meeting in Kevadia, Gujarat. He mentioned that the current port capacity of 2,600 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) will grow to over 10,000 MTPA by 2047.

Sonowal also pointed out the impressive 16 percent year-on-year growth in cargo movement through inland waterways. The government’s goal is to further raise this to 500 MTPA by 2047. To achieve these goals, the country is finalizing plans for major port enhancements and state government collaborations under the Amrit Kaal Vision, a plan leading up to the 2047 centennial.

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A notable announcement was the establishment of a bureau of port security to enhance and regulate the security of the country’s port assets.

India currently operates 13 major seaports and over 180 minor ports, which handle a significant portion of maritime traffic.

In terms of sustainability, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways plans to create green hydrogen hubs at both central and state-owned ports. The Deendayal Port Authority in Kandla, Gujarat, has already made agreements worth a substantial amount for this initiative.

Sonowal emphasized that the maritime sector is a key driver of economic growth. Private sector involvement is being increased through public-private partnerships (PPPs), with these partnerships currently handling around half of the cargo at major ports. The aim is to increase their share to about 85 percent in the coming decades.

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The SagarMala Programme, aimed at expanding the logistics sector, has significantly improved port capacity, connectivity, and operational efficiency. This has resulted in reduced costs, shorter vessel turnaround times, the ability to accommodate larger ships, and enhanced strategic importance of Indian ports in the South Asia region.

Sonowal urged coastal states and union territories to continue supporting the Ministries of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Road Transport and Highways, and Railways in expediting important development projects under the SagarMala initiative.

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