The Port and Shipping Ministry has advised Government owned Major ports to
deepen their berths to at least 17 meters through Public Private Partnership
route so that they are in a position to handle higher capacity container
Deep draft ports like most in the west coast particularly in Gujarat and
Maharashtra would facilitate reduction in transporation costs due to economics
of scale. In comparison most of the East coast ports have drafts ranging from
13 to 15 meters. The deepest berth in VOC port is around 14 meters.
Guidelines for Major Port Trusts by the Ministry
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping has
prepared the Draft Dredging Guidelines for Major Port Trusts, which envisage
the public-private partnership (PPP) model for undertaking channel deepening
and maintenance works at the Major Ports.
This means the ministry will no longer dole out funds for capital
dredging projects of major ports
Such a model may be worked out for dredging projects, with the hybrid model
of combining capital dredging with maintenance dredging for 10-20 years.
The Ministry has emphasised the need to increase depths to 17 metres to
handle higher capacity container vessels, which would facilitate a reduction in
transportation costs due to economies of scale. The PPP model is a potential
option, with limited investment from the Major Ports, the Ministry said.
No investments by
private players in east coast ports which have become almost feeder ports
Shipping experts says not many private players may not invest funds in east
coast ports since most of them have become feeder ports and large liner vessels
do not come in a big way, since the ports have limited infrastructure besides
shallow draft. It is like chicken and egg
story. Unless the government invests funds and deepen the draft, the east coast
ports will remain feeder ports depending on Coploimbo port for their major
They also point out that the container terminals in Ports like Colombo have both massive lengths
and drafts of 20 meters. Unless the infra in east coast ports are improved,
they cannot compete with the Sri Lankan port and continue to depend on it for