Thursday, 4 July 2013

Gujarat plans maritime cluster, two port cities.....................70813

Gujarat plans maritime cluster, two port cities
Gujarat government plans to develop a maritime cluster and two port cities, according to two officials familiar with the development.

Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), the regulator for all non-major ports and shipping activities in the state, will develop a maritime cluster on the lines of such centres in Singapore and Dubai, said A.K. Rakesh, vice-chairman and chief executive.

Non-major ports are those not controlled by the Union government.
GMB will also develop a port city at Mundra in Kutch district while Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), a state-run body for attracting industrial investments, will build a second one at Pipavav.

A GIDC official confirmed the development but declined to be named.
Ports regulated by GMB handle at least 25% of the total cargo managed by the country’s various ports.

In 2011-12, GMB-regulated ports handled 259 million tonnes (mt) of cargo, or about 28% of the total 930 mt of port cargo handled in the country. In 2012-13, Gujarat’s non-major ports handled 288 mt of cargo. The overall traffic at all Indian ports for the year was not immediately available.

“Gujarat already has the infrastructure in place. The need of the hour is development of soft infrastructure such as maritime education, maritime finance companies, chartering, just to name a few,” said Rakesh. “We have noticed that trading houses who are based in Gujarat go to places like Dubai or Mumbai for their chartering needs.”

So far, private developers and GMB have invested about Rs.30,000 crore in developing infrastructure at Gujarat ports and will sink in an additional Rs.15,000 crore over the next two years, said another GMB official, requesting anonymity.

The maritime cluster approach, an important component of government policy in the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia, among other nations, is new to India, according to Rakesh. Such a cluster incorporates interconnected companies, suppliers, service providers and firms in related industries.

The area required for setting up the cluster and the investment required for the project have not been finalized, he said.
GMB is in the process of initiating feasibility studies for the maritime cluster, expected to be developed close to state capital Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, the principal city of Gujarat, said another government official, also declining to be named.

The state government’s plan to develop port cities at Mundra and Pipavav is on the lines of similar infrastructure in Singapore and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, said Rakesh.

The port city planned in Mundra will be spread over 250-500 sq. km, and the one at Pipavav will be smaller at 100-150 sq. km.

Mundra port, the country’s second largest by cargo traffic, is run by Ahmedabad-based Adani Group. It is close to a special economic zone also developed by Adani Group. Pipavav houses a port operated by APM Terminals Ltd and a shipyard project run by Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd, a company promoted by SKIL Infrastructure Ltd.

“While there has been unplanned development around ports like Haldia and JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust), it could be for the first time that cities are planned around existing ports in India,” said Suren Vakil, managing director of BMT Consultants (India) Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of the UK-based maritime consulting firm. “Both Mundra and Pipavav are thriving ports and more people will start living here with planned development.”

“We expect that the cities now being developed in phases would emerge as independent economic hubs when completely developed,” said Rakesh.

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