India’s Ministry of Shipping has increased the scope of the Sagarmala project to provide financial support to its ports and state governments for the creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passengers by sea or national waterways in an effort to promote coastal shipping in the country.
Under the scheme, projects which will be considered for assistance include construction and upgrading of coastal berths for coastal cargo and berths for passenger ferries, mechanization of coastal berths, capital dredging for operating non-major ports, construction of breakwaters for existing and greenfield non-major ports, construction of berths and jetties in national waterways and islands, and construction of platforms and jetties for hovercrafts and seaplanes.
Financial assistance under the revised scheme would be given up to 50% of the total cost of the project, while the balance cost would be borne by respective ports or concerned state governments from their internal resources.
Under the scheme, the creation of exclusive berths for coastal shipping and its mechanization will reduce waiting time for coastal vessels resulting in reduced cost. The capital dredging and construction of breakwaters would help in smoother navigation of large vessels into the ports and thus facilitate development of existing and greenfield ports.