In an attempt to reach out to the governments of maritime states for the “Sagarmala project”, which seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast, the Union Ministry of Shipping held the first meeting in connection with the plan in Gandhinagar on Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by A K Srivastava, additional secretary, Ministry of Shipping, and was attended by Rabindra Agarwal, joint secretary, and consultants from McKinsey and AECOM.
“Gujarat was chosen as the first destination to hold such a workshop as the state is considered a torch bearer of port and port-led development, and the learning of Gujarat will be vital for the success of this initiative,” read a statement from the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), the state’s nodal agency for port development.
The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to enhance the capacity of major and non-major ports, modernising them, thereby enabling them to become drivers of port-led economic development.
It also intends to optimise the use of existing and future transport assets and develop new linkages for transport (including roads, rail, inland waterways and coastal routes), set up logistics hubs, and establish industries and manufacturing centres to be served by ports.
Apart from the senior central government officials, various state government departments like home, tourism, road and building, industries, railways, Coast Guard and others were present during the meeting. Representatives from private port operators, trade associations, logistics players, freight forwarders, universities, training institutes and port ancillary industries were also present.
“Only priority projects would be funded from equity to be put by the Sagarmala Company that would be formed within a few coming months. However, this bar was not put on the skill development projects in the coastal region, wherein the Government of India showed readiness to fund upto 100 percent of the project cost,” the GMB release added.
VC & CEO of GMB, AK Rakesh, provided the details of various projects of GMB that could form a part of the Sagarmala initiative. During the meet, the Joint Secretary, Government of India indicated that they intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with GMB to utilise their knowledge and expertise in the development of the port sector, the release added.