Ministry of Shipping will now be known as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the roll-on-roll-off terminal at Hazira on Sunday.
“Now this ministry will be known as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and it is being expanded. In most of the developed countries, the Ministry of Shipping handles Ports and Waterways. The shipping ministry has been doing several works related to ports and waterways. Now with more clarity in name, there will be more clarity in the work,” prime minister Modi said.
The prime minister also flagged off a ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat through video conferencing on the occasion.
Congratulating the people of Gujarat on the terminal and ferry service, the prime minister said, “The years of the dream have been realised and the wait for years has ended for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat with the start of the ro-pax service between Hazira and Ghogha. A new terminal has also been inaugurated at Hazira. Many many congratulations and best wishes to all of you for the establishment of this new maritime link between Bhavnagar and Surat.”
He further said ro-pax service between Hazira and Ghogha had made dreams come true for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat, as the journey was shortened from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours. He said this will save time and expenses will also be reduced. He said about 80,000 passenger trains and 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year.
Modi also said better connectivity between Saurashtra and Surat was going to change the life of the people in those regions. He added fruits, vegetables and milk could now easily be transported and pollution would also be reduced due to this service. He thanked all those engineers, workers, who remained courageous to develop the facility amidst a lot of challenges.
Gujarat Leads in Maritime Development
The prime minister lauded the way Gujarat had realised its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development and said it is a matter of pride for every Gujarati.
“It is a matter of pride for every Gujarati the way Gujarat has realised its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development. During this time, special attention has been given to infrastructure in coastal areas of Gujarat and other development projects. Priority has been given to the development of every infrastructure, be it the state’s shipbuilding policy, or the development of ship-building park, or the specialised terminals,” he said.
The prime minister said that today Gujarat had become a gateway of prosperity due to the efforts of the government in ensuring the development of all types of infrastructure in the coastal area. He said over the past two decades, a unique model of the integrated port had evolved from traditional port operations in Gujarat to become a benchmark today. He said the result of these efforts was that the ports of Gujarat had emerged as major maritime centres of the country. Last year, the state accounted for more than 40 per cent of the country’s total maritime trade.
The prime minister observed that maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat was in full swing. Several facilities were getting ready in the state like Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University and the country’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) terminal at Bhavnagar. The maritime cluster ports to be built in GIFT city would be a dedicated system to address ports to sea-based logistics. He said that these clusters would help in strengthening the cooperation between the government, industry and educational institutions and would also help in value addition in this sector.
The prime minister said the government was making efforts to restart the ferry service between Ghogha-Dahej. He said many natural challenges had arisen in this project and efforts were being made to remove them using modern technology. He added Gujarat Maritime University was a big center for providing trained manpower and experts ready for maritime trade. Today, this University provided opportunities to pursue maritime law and international trade law and also MBA in maritime management, shipping and logistics. He said apart from the university, work was also underway to build the country’s first museum dedicated to maritime heritage in Lothal.
Ports Development Fast-tracked
Prime Minister Modi said that the capacity of the ports had been increased across the nation and construction of new ports was also going on at a faster pace.
“Efforts are being made to put maximum use of about 21,000 km of waterway in the country for the development of the country. Under the Sagarmala Project, work is going on over 500 projects across the country,” he added.
He said work was going on in inland rivers across the country to connect many land-locked states to the sea. He said the country was developing its capabilities in the Indian Ocean unprecedentedly. The maritime part of the country had emerged as an important part of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The prime minister also suggested that the cost of logistics could be reduced through water transport. Therefore, the country must focus on creating an ecosystem to facilitate the seamless movement of cargo. He added the country was now making rapid strides in the direction of multimodal connectivity to reduce logistics costs and efforts had been made to improve connectivity between road, rail, air and shipping infrastructure and also to overcome the silos.