The Gujarat government on Friday announced a new port policy that removes restrictions on 32 captives jetties operating in Gujarat, and turns them into commercial ports. The policy paves the way for the state to attract Rs 4,000 crore fresh investments in the port sector, the CEO of the Gujarat Maritime Board said.
“This policy allows ports of any size more than five million metric tonnes, to be set up as a commercial port. So this is de facto the new port policy,” Mukesh Kumar, CEO and vice-chairman of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) told The Indian Express.
The new policy allows the existing 32 captive jetties in the state to handle “third-party” cargo without any restrictions.
Companies such as Reliance Industries, Cairn Energy, Ultratech Cements, Larsen and Toubro, Gujarat Ambuja Cement, and Sanghi Industries, which operative captive jetties, are expected to benefit from the move. “In effect, these 32 captive jetties will become commercial ports,” he remarked. These captive jetties can now handle unlimited amount of cargo at double the wharfage.
The existing 32 captive jetties handle cement, ammonia, sponge iron, crude, coal, gas and over-dimensional (cargo that protrudes beyond the loading deck) cargo, and the operation of RO-RO ferries (which transport cars and other road vehicles).
The GMB CEO said new players will also be invited to set up smaller ports. “We will soon be publishing EOIs (Expression of Interests) which will allow new players to set up small and medium sized ports of five million metric tonnes or more in the state,” Kumar said. New players can invest about Rs 300 crore to set up a port of five million metric tonnes. These new jetties should be at a distance of three kilometres from existing jetties and should be outside the limits of private ports, he added.
Under the new port policy, the captive jetty owners can now make investments in expansion and modernisation of these jetties. The government has also allowed them to handle cargo belonging to their group companies. “This policy will remove the existing restrictions on port infrastructure. Capacity to the tune of 80 million metric tonnes will be unlocked and it will attract Rs 4,000 crore,” the GMB CEO said.