Experts feel that the government must take supportive steps to enable the shipping ministry to achieve the project award target for 2012-13.
While the ministry aims to award 42 new port projects by the end of March 2013, it has so far awarded 17 of them.
But industry analysts feel that future projects will have considerably more project management challenges and traffic risks owing to increased competition.
Ganesh Radhakrishnan, PricewaterhouseCoopersÂ’s advisor for government and infrastructure said most of the Â‘low-hanging grapesÂ’ Â– the best locations for ports, that is Â– have been plucked already.
He suggests government to consider viability gap funding in this sector to incentivise private investors. It may also be desirable to consider policy initiatives to fund common infrastructure facilities like dredging, navigational aids and connectivity infrastructure for the private ports, too, if the capacity targets must be met within the time frame.
It may be noted that the 12th Five Year Plan envisages more than doubling that capacity to 2,687 tonne by 2016-17.
The process of awarding public-private partnership or PPP projects for new ports should be streamlined quickly in order to bring the ports sector up to speed, said K Ravichandran, analyst with ICRA.