The Rs 7,500-crore outer harbour project at Tuticorin port was one of the major highlights for the infrastructure sector in the Union Budget.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who hails from Tamil Nadu, said that the project would add an annual capacity of 42 million tonnes to the port. The minister also said that a new port will come up at Andhra Pradesh.
The Government today said that it will set up a port each at Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in 2013-14, to effectively handle the increased cargo traffic.
“Two new major ports will be set up in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said while presenting the Budget for 2013-14.
The Ministry of Shipping, in the Maritime Agenda for 2010-20, had proposed setting up of two major ports — which handle heavy cargo traffic — in the country. It had envisaged developing two new major ports, one each on east and west coasts.
At present, there are 12 major ports in India — Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin, Kandla and Visakhapatnam.
This move is aimed at catering to the increased import of coal and oil and container volumes in the years to come.
Cargo traffic at ports during the six-month period ended September 2012 grew just 1.8 per cent to 455.8 million tonnes due to decline in shipments handled at major ports.
Cargo traffic or the goods transported for commercial gain increased to 455.8 million tonnes (April-September 2012) from 448 mt (April-September 2011). There was a decline of 3.3 per cent in the cargo handled at major ports.
In contrast, non-major ports’ growth increased to 185.21 mt or 10.3 per cent in the first half of 2012-13 compared with 168 mt or 8.2 per cent in the corresponding period of 2011-12.