INDIA’S Narendra Modi government has set itself a target of increasing the country’s port capacity to more than 10,000 Metric Ton Per Annum (MTPA) from the current 2,600 MTPA by 2047, minister for ports, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said in Kevadia in the western state of Gujarat over the weekend.
The government will soon set up a Bureau of Port Security to upgrade security across all ports in the country, he added at the 19th Maritime States Development Council meeting in Kevadia.
“The country’s total port capacity will increase from existing around 2,600 MTPA to more than 10,000 MTPA in 2047,” a government release quoted him as saying.
India will celebrate its centenary of its independence in 2047.
Sonowal, a former chief minister of the north-eastern state of Assam, said the country’s maritime sector is poised for substantial growth with over Rs 10 lakh crore (£94.3 billion) worth of investment opportunities identified, with the opportunity to generate employment for over 15 lakh (1.5 million) youth.
“In alignment with this vision, the role of private players is being progressively augmented, with public-private partnership (PPP) terminals currently handling about 50 per cent of the cargo at major ports and efforts underway to raise their share to approximately 85 per cent in the coming decades,” the minister said.
The government is working with a focus to enhance cargo movement on India’s national waterways, which witnessed a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in the last fiscal year, he added.
“Ambitious targets have been set to achieve a substantial quantum of 500 MTPA by 2047, underlining the government’s commitment to leveraging the maritime sector as a catalyst for comprehensive national growth,” the release said, quoting the central minister.
Sonowal also shared the ministry’s ambitious plan to develop “hydrogen hubs” across the ports run by the central and state governments.
“All the central and state government ports will explore the possibility of creating hydrogen hubs,” he said, adding that the Deendayal Port Authority in Gujarat has already finalised MoUs worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore for this venture.
The two-day 19th Maritime State Development Council meeting, which was organised by the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways to enhance better coordination between major and notified ports, state maritime boards, state governments and Union Territories, concluded on Saturday (19).
Sonowal also spoke about India’s growing maritime stature and the upcoming Global Maritime India Summit 2023, and said all maritime states and UTs will participate in the event scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam at New Delhi from October 17-19, 2023.