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We will soon form an SPV for port connectivity projects

We will soon form an SPV for port connectivity projects

Atul Patne, the newly appointed CEO of Maharashtra Maritime Board, divulges the plans that can further escalate Maharashtra´s importance on India´s maritime map and reveals the areas the entity will focus upon.

What importance does Maharashtra have on the maritime map of India?
The state has a long coastline of 720 km, which is almost 10 per cent of India´s coastline. It´s well connected through 18 National Highways and nearly 6,000 km of the railway network. It´s the pioneer of India´s first six-lane concrete road -the Mumbai-Pune Expressway – and takes pride in hosting two railway headquarters – Central Railways and Western Railways. It has the highest number of non-major ports – 48 of them and a dedicated maritime board focussed on cargo, and handholding its partners.

Recently, for Maharashtra, the Central government has declared 14 inland waterways as National Waterways. They are Amba River, Dabhol creek/Vashishti River, Kalyan-Thane-Mumbai Waterway (including Vasai creek & Ulhas River), Rajpuri Creek, Revandanda Creek/Kundalika River, Savitri River, Shastri River/Jaigad Creek, Arunawati-Aran, Manjara, Nag, Narmada, Penganga-Wardha, Tapi and Wainganga-Pranahita. This has provided an impetus to coastal shipping and inland water transport.

Also, a comprehensive Maritime Development Policy with coverage across sectors has been prepared in sync with GoI´s campaigns, including the Sagarmala Programme, Make in India, Skill India and Digital India. The policy has been prepared after detailed stakeholder consultations and drawing learnings from international ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp as well as India´s other maritime states.

When will MMB form an SPV for port connectivity projects in Maharashtra?
We, in conjunction with Sagarmala Development Company and MIDC, are forming a Special Purpose Vehicle – the Maharashtra Port Connectivity Corporation – an umbrella organisation to undertake connectivity projects for ports, next month. The corporation will have 30 per cent equity from MIDC, an equal amount of equity from Sagarmala Development Company and 40 per cent from MMB. Through this SPV, all the ports will be connected to the nearest national highway or by rail. The main thing is that as per the new policy connecting ports, providing the logistics support through rail or road is the responsibility of the state. The expense will be borne by the state government.

We have also signed a shareholder´s agreement with JNPT for developing a satellite port off Vadhavan in Dahanu Taluka with an investment of Rs.25,000 crore. The capacity of this port will be about 15 mn TEUs.

Tell us about your future projects and the areas MMB is focusing on.
At present, we are focusing on modernisation of port infrastructure and development of new ports. In addition, through our envisaged projects, we are improving hinterland linkages through efficient rail, road and water (coastal and inland waterways) networks for efficient evacuations. Recently, we have issued tenders for Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax services from Ferry Wharf to Mandwa and Ferry Wharf to Nerul through East Coast Water Transport Project in conjunction with MbPT and CIDCO respectively Apart from that, we have planned to construct one more jetty near Radio Club that will take some passenger load away from the existing jetty at Gateway of India. In addition, we have issued tenders for hovercraft services, seaplane services, amphibian bus, ferry services and Ro-Ro services.

We also have plans for port-led development by promoting port-based SEZs and FTWZs, ancillary industries such as shipbreaking, shipbuilding, ship repair, bunkering facilities and container freight stations.

Meanwhile, our consultants have recommended a few sites for the development of new ports. These are Wayangani, Ganeshgule, Bhandarwadi, Padvane, Chavathwadi and Vayangani. We have also appointed consultants for the exploration of coastal shipping in Vasai, Rajpuri and Jaigad creeks. The TEFS study is underway. Also, we are developing a world-class marina facility.

We are also doing capacity expansion of three existing operational greenfield ports, which will add another 70 MTPA capacity. As far as improving skills, we are promoting capacity-building programmes and development of maritime academies/water sports institutes. In fact, we are identifying locations to set up a state-of-the-art training institute for the actual experience.

What are your plans for beach nourishment?
Yes, we have appointed Padmashree Dr. Sudarshan Patnaik as our brand ambassador for this project. We want to promote this by promoting sand art in our existing beaches. We are proud to inform you that recently Tarkarli beach was adjudged the best beach in the country. Hence, we have planned for beach nourishment projects with the assistance from Asian Development Bank. The cost of the project will be Rs.872 crore and we have already floated the tenders. Under this programme, we have considered Marine Drive, the beachfronts of Ganpatiphule, Tarkali and Kashid. The plan will take around three years for completion.

Ergo, MMB is taking collaborative and community-based coastal management under the Nirmal Sagar Abhiyan. The shoreline management plans have to be formulated. This will have skilled development and skill enhancement for the locals through community participation. In addition, we will form Sagar Tath Vyavastha Pan Samiti or the beach management committee. In this, the committee will be responsible for safeguarding the beach and managing its cleanliness too. Through this, we will also help youth to take up the water sports business. Under this programme, we will allocate around `15 lakh to each committee of which the committee will spend 75 per cent on enhancing beach infrastructure and the remaining 25 per cent will be allocated to youths who are interested in water sports activities. Under this programme, we will give all the necessary training.

Give us more details on the Maharashtra Maritime Development Policy 2016.
The state of Maharashtra, with its 720-km coastal stretch, coupled with skilled human resources, and strong industrial base has significant potential for development of the maritime sector. It is from this perspective that MMB has recently announced a new policy ù the Maharashtra Maritime Development Policy 2016 – to give an impetus to the development of ports, shipyards, coastal shipping, inland water transport and coastal economic zones. It focusses on increasing the efficiency of ports through improvement of hinterland connectivity and improving ease of doing business by enabling a faster mechanism for approvals and clearances. The policy also focusses on synchronising maritime and industrial development in conjunction with the Sagarmala project.

What are the developments on the regulatory front that MMB is looking forward to?
On the regulatory front, I expect incentives and policies by the GoI for integrating the hinterland projects of industrial and freight corridors with maritime developments to offer economical and seamless transport for both export-import and domestic sectors, thereby reducing logistics costs for the customer and making exports more competitive.

MMB has also undertaken several regulatory initiatives such as preparing a comprehensive Port Policy to address various port-related issues in order to position Maharashtra as a leading state in terms of maritime activity. It focusses on increasing the efficiency of ports through improvement of hinterland connectivity and improving ease of doing business by enabling a faster mechanism for approvals and clearances. The policy also focusses on port-led development in conjunction with the Sagarmala project.

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