The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved fresh estimates for the planned project to deepen and widen Mumbai Harbour Channel and JN Port Channel. It has been confirmed that the entire project cost, of Rs 2029 crore (US$ 31.28 million) will be funded through the internal resources of JN Port Trust (JNPT) topped by borrowing on the financial markets, if necessary.
The project will widen the existing channel from 370 m to 450 m and extend the channel by 2 km to a total length of 35.5 km. The draft of the channel will also be increased from the existing level of 14 m to 15 m. It is estimated that over 35 million cu m of material will be dredged as part of the project, which is to be opened up to international tender.
The enhanced infrastructure will help JNPT, India’s main gateway port, handle larger container vessels up to 12,500 teu size. There will be other benefits, including a reduction in vessel waiting time and in the need for transshipment. According to a Cabinet Committee statement: “The ultimate benefit to users will be in terms of lower unit cost, in addition to reduction in vessel traffic congestion at JNPT. This will add to the competitiveness of India’s EXIM trade.”