The Indian Government has given approval ‘in-principle’ for setting up a new Major Port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra, at an estimated cost in excess of US$ 9 billion. A new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed, with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as the lead partner, and this SPV will develop port infrastructure including land reclamation, the construction of breakwaters and establishing connections to the hinterland. Terminal operations on the site will be carried out by private companies, with Vadhavan operating on the landlord port model.
Vadhavan is viewed as a solution to the need to find a way of overcoming capacity constraints at JNPT in meeting the growing needs of its hinterland. Even after the completion of the fourth terminal port, boosting capacity to 10 million teu annually by 2023, there will be a need for more container handling capability. Once Vadhavan has been developed, the Indian government believes the JN Port cluster will become one of the top 10 container ports in the world and will be able to meet the needs of importers and exporters cost effectively, through economies of scale.
A statement from the Ministry of Shipping said: “There is a need for a deep draft port that will accommodate the largest containerships in the world and also cater for the spill over traffic from JNPT port once its planned capacity of 10 million teu is fully utilised.”
JNPT and Mundra, the two largest container handling ports in the country have drafts of 15m and 16m respectively, while the world’s largest container handling ports require a draft of 18-20m. Vadhavan has a natural draft of about 20m close to the shore, making it possible for it to handle bigger vessels up to 25,000 teu in future. The Ministry of Shipping statement continued: “The ever increasing size of containerships makes it imperative that a deep draft container port on the West Coast of India is developed.”