The Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), & AYUSH, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal unveiled a vision for India’s maritime sector, outlining key initiatives that promise a transformative impact tt the 19th Maritime States Development Council meeting today in Kevadia, Gujarat.
Shri Sonowal spotlighted that the Government will soon put together the Bureau of Port Security towards upgrading security across all the ports in the country. He also highlighted the Government’s focus on sustainable development and shared about the Ministry’s ambitious plan to develop Hydrogen Hubs across the Central Government and State Government ports. He said, “All Central Government and State Government ports will explore the possibility of creating Hydrogen Hubs.” He added that Deendayal Port Authority has already finalised MoUs worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore for this venture.
In addition, Shri Sonowal announced, emphasising the country’s commitment to quadrupling its port capacity under the Amrit Kaal Vision for Ports. He underlined that all major ports have prepared their Port Master Plans for 2047, and states are also getting their Port Master Plans for 2047 ready. “The total country’s Port capacity will increase from existing around 2,600 MTPA to more than 10,000 MTPA in 2047,” he said.
The two-day 19th Maritime State Development Council meeting at Kevadia, Gujarat, organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways to enhance better coordination between major and notified ports, State Maritime Boards, State Governments and Union Territories (UTs) concluded today. MSDC is an apex advisory body constituted in May 1997 to develop the Maritime Sector. It aims to ensure the integrated development of Major and other notified ports.
Shri Sonowal added, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, MoPSW is marking new achievements. He always believes in better cooperation, and the Maritime States Development Council emerges as a critical mechanism of cooperation and plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of our Nation’s maritime sector.”
The Minister also alluded to India’s growing maritime stature and the upcoming Global Maritime India Summit 2023. The Union Minister announced that all maritime states and Union Territories will participate in the GMIS 2023, making it one of the largest summits in the country. Global Maritime India Summit 2023 is scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi, from 17th-19th October 2023. GMIS 2023 is a premier maritime sector-focused event to bring together pivotal figures from the industry to explore opportunities, understand challenges, and stimulate investment within India’s maritime sector. Building upon the legacy of its preceding editions of 2016 and 2021, this third edition of the summit aims to unveil broader prospects for domestic and international maritime stakeholders and investors. Delegates from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the summit with exhibitors and investors from various domains of the maritime sector.
Besides, the Minister underscored that the country’s maritime sector is currently poised for substantial growth, with investment opportunities identified to be more than 10 lakh crore. He stressed that this burgeoning financial prospect is more than an economic boom; it symbolises an opportunity to generate employment for over 15 lakh youths in the country, intertwining economic advancement with social empowerment. In alignment with this vision, the role of private players is being progressively augmented, with Public-Private Partnership (PPP) terminals currently handling about 50% of the cargo at major ports and efforts underway to raise their share to approximately 85% in the coming decades. This strategic move towards privatisation is expected to enhance efficiency and facilitate the scaling of operations. Furthermore, there is a discernible focus on enhancing cargo movement on India’s National Waterways, which witnessed a 16% year-on-year increase in the last fiscal year. Ambitious targets have been set to achieve a substantial quantum of 500 MTPA by 2047, underlining the government’s commitment to leveraging the maritime sector as a catalyst for comprehensive national growth.
Shri Sonowal alluded to the Sagarmala Programme, noting that over the past eight years, the strategic initiatives of the Sagarmala Programme have significantly enhanced port capacity, connectivity, and operational efficiency, driving down costs, shortening vessel turnaround times, accommodating larger ships, and elevating the strategic relevance of Indian ports in the South Asian region. Shri Sonowal encouraged all Coastal States and Union Territories Governments to offer unwavering support to MoPSW, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Railways in expediting these vital projects.
While addressing the gathering, Shri Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State, MoPSW, said, “A steadfast emphasis should be placed on embracing new-age technologies, fostering sustainable living practices, and ensuring environmental safety. By diligently addressing these key aspects, we can collectively contribute to the holistic betterment of our coastal populations.”
Shri Shantanu Thakur, Union Minister of State, MoPSW, said, “The Indian maritime sector assumes unparalleled importance as a cornerstone of our nation’s economy, security, and strategic advancement. Furthermore, due to our expansive coastline, this sector supports coastal livelihoods and nurtures sustainable development. Its resilient infrastructure bears multifaceted significance in propelling India’s journey towards excellence both domestically and internationally.”
Raghavji Patel, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Gujarat, stated “In Gujarat, our commitment to sustainable growth in the maritime sector drives innovation and prosperity, charting a course towards a vibrant maritime future for India”. He further added, “Let’s sail together towards a sustainable and prosperous maritime sector, elevating India’s maritime prowess to new horizons.”
Shri Mankal Vaidya, the Minister of State for Fisheries, Ports, and Inland Water Transport, Karnataka, emphasized on the importance of collaborative efforts in developing Karnataka’s maritime sector during the meeting. He said “I express gratitude for the approval of key projects and urged swift approvals for pending initiatives to boost cargo handling capacity and maritime development in the state.”
Expressing his thoughts, the Minister for Public works, Tamil Nadu, Thiru EV Velu stated “Tamil Nadu’s unique coastal vision shines at the 19th MSDC meeting. We’re grateful for the support and eagerly anticipate the International Passenger Ferry service, bridging history and trade with Sri Lanka. Our commitment to marine planning, Coastal Tourism, and the Cuddalore Greenfield port underscores our dedication to maritime growth.”
On Day Two discussions were made upon the various development agendas related to the implementation of Sagarmala Programme; Development of National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC), Lothal, Gujarat; Development of National Waterways; Challenges and opportunities for promotion of RoPax/ Ferries; Urban Passenger Waterways Transportation; Road & Rail port connectivity; Success stories of Coastal States & UTs and Issues/ Challenges faced by State Maritime Boards.