The capacity of box ships calling at JNPT is set to double with this move.
Container ships with the capacity to carry double the volume of boxes currently calling will be able to dock at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) near Mumbai from February after the state-owned port wraps up a ₹1,966 crore channel deepening work by the end of the month to increase the depth to 15 metres from the current 14 metres.
Currently, ships with a capacity to carry 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs, can dock at JNPT, and that too with the help of tides. At 15 metres, the port will be able to handle new generation bigger size container vessels of 12,500 TEU capacity with wider beam and requiring deeper drafts.
The increased depth will bring economic benefits like saving vessel waiting time and savings on account of transshipment. Also, larger ships are more economical to operate as their cost of operation is lesser by as much as 40 per cent.
“The ultimate benefit to users will be in terms of lower unit cost, direct and indirect tax benefits in addition to the reduction in vessel traffic congestion at JNPT. This would add to the competitiveness of India’s export-import trade,” the shipping ministry official said.
“Deepening the approach channel to all terminals at JNPT to 15 metres is a very positive development for terminals and port users,” said a spokesperson for the Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals Private Limited (BMCT), a wholly-owned unit of Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd, which opened the new facility in February 2018. “Shipping lines can bring deeper draft and larger vessels and so enjoy greater economies of scale. The deepened channel will increase the competitiveness of the port,” the BMCT spokesperson added.
Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will declare the increased draft at JNPT in the next few days, the ministry official said.
It had hired a joint venture between Jan De Nul NV and Royal Boskalis Westminster NV on a tender in September 2017 for the channel deepening work – billed India’s biggest dredging contract yet by value.
The work comprised deepening the channel to 15 metres from the existing 14 metres, widening the existing shipping channel from 370 metres to 450 metres for straight reach and extending the length from 33.5 kms to 35.5 kms. It was “a very challenging assignment” for the Belgian-Dutch dredging contractors as the work involved dredging, drilling and blasting of huge rocks.
The port — one of the 12 controlled by the Central government — loads more than half of India’s container cargo. In the year to March 2018, it handled 4.833 million TEUs compared to the 4.5 million TEUs handled in FY17.
JNPT port currently has five container terminals with a capacity to handle 7.4 million TEUs. The capacity will rise to 9.85 million TEUs when the terminal run by PSA International expands capacity by 2.4 million TEUs in the second phase by 2022.
The shipping ministry official mentioned earlier said that a feasibility study for the channel deepening project had suggested dredging to either 15 or 16 metres. “JNPT’s berths are older, so it cannot withstand a 16-metre draft, that’s an infrastructure problem. So, the port cannot go for a 16-metre draft. Otherwise, it might have been much better if it had gone for a 16-metre draft. Now, 15 metre is the maximum depth it can have,” the shipping ministry official added.
Earlier this week, JNPT jumped five spots to take the 28th position among global container ports, according to Lloyds Report.
Source: The Hindu Business LinePrevious Next
Huge Opportunities For Investment in Maritime Sector: Nitin Gadkari
India Tanker Shipping & Trade Summit 2019