The government unveiled the Rs 500,000 crore Maritime Agenda 2020 involving expanding port handling capacity of the country to three billion tonne from the existing 617 million tonne (mt) along with various policy reforms in the shipping and ports sector. The agenda will replace the National Maritime Development Programme. According to Shipping Minister GK Vasan the agenda largely relies on private sector for investments. Of the total investments, Rs 300,000 crore would be in the port sector, while Rs 200,000 crore will be infused in the shipping sector. For the port sector, the government plans to create four hub portsâ€”two each on the east and west coasts.
The agenda plans to set up a regulator to keep a vigil on operations. Currently, the Tariff Authority of Major Ports fixes the price ceiling. The ministry will draft a coastal shipping policy and a transshipment policy to relax cabotage laws for promoting transshipment ports.