New Delhi: The Government has set itself a target of raising the country's port capacity to more than 10,000 Metric Ton Per Annum by 2047 from the current 2,600 MTPA, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday.
The Government will soon set up a Bureau of Port Security to upgrade security across all ports in the country, he said at the 19th Maritime States Development Council meeting at Kevadia in Gujarat's Narmada district near the Statue of Unity.
"The country's total port capacity will increase from existing around 2,600 MTPA to more than 10,000 MTPA in 2047," a government release quoted him as saying.
Sonowal said the country's maritime sector is poised for substantial growth with over Rs 10 lakh crore worth of investment opportunities identified, with the opportunity to generate employment for over 15 lakh youths.
"In alignment with this vision, the role of private players is being progressively augmented, with public-private partnership (PPP) terminals currently handling about 50 per cent of the cargo at major ports and efforts underway to raise their share to approximately 85 per cent in the coming decades," the minister said.
The Government is working with a focus to enhance cargo movement on India's national waterways, which witnessed a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in the last fiscal year, he said.
"Ambitious targets have been set to achieve a substantial quantum of 500 MTPA by 2047, underlining the government's commitment to leveraging the maritime sector as a catalyst for comprehensive national growth," stated the release, quoting the Union Minister.
Sonowal also shared the Ministry's ambitious plan to develop "hydrogen hubs" across the ports run by the central and state governments.
"All the central and state government ports will explore the possibility of creating hydrogen hubs," he said, adding that the Deendayal Port Authority in Gujarat has already finalised MoUs worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore for this venture.
The two-day 19th Maritime State Development Council meeting organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) to enhance better coordination between major and notified ports, state maritime boards, state governments and Union Territories concluded in Kevadia, Gujarat on Saturday.
The Union Minister also talked about India's growing maritime stature and the upcoming Global Maritime India Summit 2023, and said all maritime states and UTs will participate in the event scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam at New Delhi from October 17-19, 2023.
Sonowal encouraged all coastal state and UT governments to offer their support in expediting Sagarmala and other vital projects.
Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways said that a steadfast emphasis should be placed on embracing new-age technologies, fostering sustainable living practices, and ensuring environmental safety.
"By diligently addressing these key aspects, we can collectively contribute to the holistic betterment of our coastal populations," he said.