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Major Ports capacity addition plan a "distant dream": Parliamentary panel - 2013-05-23

Concerned over slow pace of capacity addition by 12 major ports, a Parliamentary panel has said plans to increase their capacity to 1,229.24 million tonnes (MT) by 2017 appears to be a "distant dream".

Major capacity addition has been done by private ports and the capacity addition by major ports is not as much, the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has said in its report. "The present day capacity of the Major Ports is only 696.53 MT and the annual capacity addition ratio is mere 6.65 per cent. The Committee is of the view that even the 12th Five Year Plan target of 1,229.24 MT by the year 2017 appears to be a distant dream," the panel headed by CPI-M MP Sitaram Yechury has said.

The 12 major ports Kolkata (Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Ennore, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Kandla had even failed to achieve the 1,016.55 MT capacity target by the end of 11th Plan (2007-12).

The capacity of the non-major ports stand at about 600 MT in comparison to about 400 MT in 2011-12.

The Committee also questioned the criteria for fixing an ambitious target of 3130 MT by 2020 by major and non-major ports saying it "does not know on which grounds the Maritime Agenda 2010-20 has been fixed." It also expressed concern over the negative growth of traffic in some major ports saying, "This is not a healthy trend especially at a stage where ports are heading for capacity additions."

As major ports are not able to find the required cargo as a result of ban on iron ore mining activities in some states by Supreme Court, it recommended that the ports should explore the possibility of alternate cargo including cruise tourism at Mormugao port.

It also cautioned them to try to improve their efficiency as "the private ports functioning at the vicinity may otherwise take advantages."

Source: The Economic Times