PPP model to invite huge investments for major ports: Baalu

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Panaji, Jan 7 (UNI) The latest 'Model Concession Agreement (MCA)' for implementation of infrastructure development projects under the Public-Private-Partnership model is likely to attract huge investments for major and non-major ports, according to Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu.

Interacting with mediapersons after addressing the ninth Maritime States Development Council meet here today, the Minister said the MCA model approved recently by the Central Cabinet proposes ''upfront tariff'', which can be reviewed after every three years.

''I sincerely hope, with the approval of new MCA now, a large number of projects will take off in various major ports. Perspective plans for 12 major ports have been prepared with the assistance of reputed international consultants and are serving as useful guides,'' he said.

In order to make transactions of ports paperless, the Port Communication System is under implementation, and the first phase of the system has been completed, he said.

Underlining the need for huge investments in the ports sector to meet the growing demands, the Minister wished the MCA document to be appropriately utilised as a model by the non-major ports as well.

The country, he said, requires Rs 1,05,000 crore investments in both major and non-major ports to develop an estimated 1.5 billion tonne cargo handling capacity by the end of the eleventh plan period (2011-02).

The non-major ports are expected to handle 302 million tonnes traffic by the end of the plan, which is 30 per cent of the total estimated 1,009 million tonnes, up from the present share of 27 per cent, Mr Baalu said.

The investment expected from the private sector for major ports is about Rs 38,000 crore and for non-major ports Rs 29,000 crore.

''For this scale of investment, it is particularly important to have an enabling environment with appropriate policies in place so as to encourage seamless flow of private sector investments duly protecting users' interests,'' the Minister said.

Mr Baalu further informed that total 28 projects have already been completed and 102 more are in progress under the National Maritime Development Programme.

In the first eight months of 2007, the major ports registered an increase of 13 million tonnes, an increase of 13 per cent over 10.4 million tonnes traffic in the corresponding period in 2006.

At the same time, work is in progress for the development of iron ore, coal and marine liquid terminals at Ennore, the international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam in Cochin and the second container terminal at Chennai port.

Two berths have been commissioned at Haldia and construction of two berths is in progress at Tuticorn port. Berth construction projects have been approved at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam ports, he added.

UNI BM NM RL ND1836

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