The Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shripad Naik, has said that the PPP (public-private-partnership) projects have helped the major ports to create new infrastructure, improve utilisation of the assets, and become competitive with international ports.

Speaking at the PPP Conclave at New Mangalore Port on Thursday, he said that PPP model has helped to get investment to the tune of ₹5287 crore for container and LNG terminals at Kochi, ₹1126.69 crore for the development of mechanised coal and container handling terminals at New Mangalore, and ₹654.97 crore for development of coal terminal and berth work at Mormugao port.

He said that, these figures show the significance of PPP model in the logistics sector where capacity and productivity of these ports impact the entire supply chain.

The Minister added that the views of various stakeholders and investors have been taken in the revision of model concession agreement in 2021 in order to make it investor friendly and to attract more investors and investments in this sector.

PPP Ports’ evolution

Highlighting the evolution of PPP projects in the Indian port sector in the last 25 years, AV Ramana, Chairman of New Mangalor Port Authority (NMPA), said that PPP mode of development was introduced in the Indian port sector in 1997. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority entered into the first agreement with the private player, Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT) in July 1997, making it the first port terminal to be developed on PPP basis. Since then, PPP mode has become the preferred mode of infrastructure development in major ports accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the new investment in berth and terminal infrastructure.

He urged the participants in the conclave to discuss on the gaps in the PPP operations and the solutions to address them. One of the suggestions given by him focussed on dredging. Stating that there is a thrust by the Government to set up at least one berth in all the ports with a 18-metre draft, he said that there is a possibility of introducing a PPP model here. Under this, PPP operator can step in, get the dredging done, and factorise it into the royalty the operator has to pay per tonne.

He pointed out that progress can happen when the PPP operator understands the problems of the port authority, and the port authority visualises the problems of the PPP operator.

M Beena, Chairperson of Kochi Port Authority, spoke on the occasion.