The Government of India has proposed to undertake maintenance works and channel deepening at key ports under the public-private-partnership (PPP) model.
The Indian Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has decided to increase the depth by 2m-3m to a total of 17m, enabling the ports to handle container ships with a higher capacity.
The increased depth will reduce the cost of transportation as the cargo movement in case of bulk cargo handling will be shifted from Panamax to Capesize ships.
To ensure private funding, the major port trusts may choose the PPP model for channel deepening works.
The draft dredging guidelines prepared by the Ministry stated: “A PPP model may be worked out for dredging projects with the hybrid model of combining the capital dredging with maintenance dredging for 10-20 years.
“The revenue share between major ports and PPP operator may be the bidding parameter for floating the PPP projects. The existing PPP operators of the berth may share proportionate cost based on the volume of cargo handled, along with the berths operated by the major ports themselves.”
In the next few years, substantial capital dredging is required at major ports, which will enable them to handle container vessels of 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity and bulk cargo-carrying Capesize ships.
The Ministry also highlighted that with limited investment from the major ports, the PPP model can become a ‘potential option’.