A fresh assessment carried out by the shipping ministry has found that 12 major ports. These are under central government, have additional capacity of handling about 300 million tonnes per annum of traffic.
This capacity can be de-blocked with minor operational interventions, which can help save up to Rs 30,000 crore of additional investment.
The ministry has issued directions to all the port authorities to notify the reassessed capacity so that the management can take measures to improve efficiency.
“Going by the assessment, the traffic handing capacity of these major ports can be increased by at least 30-40% by taking steps such as efficient use of cranes and other machineries deployed at ports, improving procedures and digitisation” said an official.
He added already implementation of similar interventions has helped the 12 major ports to increase their annual cargo handling to 650 million tonnes per annum in the past two years.
“It’s like getting more juice from the same fruit. Operational efficiency can push the capacity to handle more traffic from the present 989 mtpa to 1,396 mtpa,” the official said.
However, these does not mean that government can take the risk of undertaking expansion and other development works. Sources said there is congestion at certain berths in different ports because of huge traffic.
“We need to expand them and you can’t expect that there will be 100% occupancy at every berth.
You need to carry out maintenance and other necessary works, else there will be more congestion,” said one of the officials, who did not wish to be named.
Port is one of the infrastructure sectors, which has seen a turnaround in the past three years. The 12 major ports posted profit of about Rs 5,000 crore for 201617 against Rs 4,000 crore in the previous fiscal.