India: Major Ports capacity up by 48 per cent in last five years.
The traffic handling capacity of Major Ports has gone up by about 48 per cent in the last five years. It has increased from 389.5 MT in 2003-04 to 574.77 MT in 2008-09. A three-fold increase is projected in traffic handling capacity of Major Ports by 2025-26 by augmenting the capacity to 1595.07 MT. Shri G. K. Vasan, the Union Minister of Shipping gave this information in his opening remarks in the first Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry held today after the constitution of 15th Lok Sabha.
He further informed that the traffic handled by Indian ports have registered a growth of 5.14 per cent in the period from April to December 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Despite recessionary trends in the world economy, the traffic in India had registered a growth of 2.1 per cent during 2007-08, said Shri Vasan in the meeting of the Consultative Committee.
The 12 Major Ports, six each on the West and the East coast handled 72 per cnet of the total port traffic while 28 per cent of the port traffic was handled by 66 non-major ports. The first meeting of the Consultative Committee held today deliberated on the issues relating to development of Major Ports in the country. The National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) and other major initiatives of the Government in the port sectors were discussed at length. The Committee was informed that NMDP spreads over a period of seven years starting from April 01, 2005. The programme will conclude in March 2012. 276 projects in all have been identified under the project with a total investment of Rs. 55804 crore. Of 276, 48 projects have already been completed and 70 are at various stages of implementation.
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Major Ports has been given priority in order to infuse funds, induct latest technology, improved management practices and for addition of capacity. FDI up to 100 per cent is also permitted for construction and maintenance of ports and harbours.
Revision of wage structure for port and dock workers has been another major initiative of the Government of India to incentivise the workforce and motivate it for better results. The wage structure settlement reached with the representatives of five major federations of port and dock workers on January 19, 2010 envisages an increase of 23 per cent in the wages of Class III and IV employees of Major Port Trusts and Dock Labour Boards. This settlement will be in force for five years from 2007 to 2011. The Members of the Consultative Committee in general appreciated the performance of the Major Ports. The Members underlined the importance of emphasis on road-rail connectivity of the ports, other projects under NMDP as also the steps taken for revisioning wage structure of the workforce
Improvement in river connectivity with Major Ports along with road and rail connectivity, priority on employing local people at Class III and IV levels, increase in number of berths etc., were among the important suggestions that emerged during the meeting.
Shri Mukul Roy, the Minister of State for Shipping, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Chairmen of the Major Ports, among others, attended the meeting.