India has 12 major ports. Under the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala, six new mega ports will be developed in the country. Ports in India handle around 95 per cent of international trade volume of the country. Increasing trade activities and private participation in port infrastructure is set to support port infrastructure activity in India.
The major ports had a capacity of 1,452 million tonnes by FY18 end. The Maritime Agenda 2010-20 has a 2020 target of 3,130 MT of port capacity. The government has taken several measures to improve operational efficiency through mechanization, deepening the draft and speedy evacuations.

During FY18, cargo traffic at major ports in the country was reported at 679.36 million tonnes (MT). In 2018 first half, the traffic at major ports increased 5.13 per cent year-on-year to 288.38 million tonnes.

Current Developments

The Indian government plans to develop 10 coastal economic regions as part of plans to revive the country’s Sagarmala (string of ports) project. The zones would be converted into manufacturing hubs, supported by port modernization projects, and could span 300–500 km of the coastline. The government is also looking to develop the inland waterway sector as an alternative to road and rail routes to transport goods to the nation’s ports and hopes to attract private investment in the sector.

Government of India is targeting to make the country the first in the world to operate all 12 major domestic government ports on renewable energy. The government plans to install almost 200 MW wind and solar power generation capacity by 2019 at the ports. The energy capacity could be ramped up to 500 MW in future years.

Proposed investments in major ports by 2020 are expected to total US$ 18.6 billion, while those in non-major ports would be US$ 28.5 billion. The government is also working to float a specialised Maritime Finance Corporation with the equity of ports and financial institutions to fund the Port projects.

Foreign Direct Investment upto 100% under automatic route is already permitted in the Port Sector. This has resulted in several Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects coming up in the Major Ports. At present, a total of 33PPP Projects with an investment of Rs. 17817.96 cr. are operational and 20 more PPP projects with an investment of Rs. 22362.67 cr. are under implementation. As regards inland water transport sector, Government intends to have private sector participation for the development of IWT terminals, fairway, operation and maintenance of terminals, vessels and navigational aids.

Future Plans

Under the Sagarmala Program, the government has envisioned a total of 189 projects for modernization of ports involving an investment of Rs 1.42 trillion (US$ 22 billion) by the year 2035.

Ministry of Shipping has set a target capacity of over 3,130 MMT by 2020, which would be driven by participation from the private sector. Non-major ports are expected to generate over 50 per cent of this capacity.

India’s cargo traffic handled by ports is expected to reach 1,695 million metric tonnes by 2021-22, according to a report of the National Transport Development Policy Committee.

Within the ports sector, projects worth an investment of US$ 10 billion have been identified and will be awarded over the coming five years

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