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Gujarat’s minor ports rises

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GANDHINAGAR : With more than 1,000 factories manufacturing everything from bathroom and floor tiles to dinner sets, Morbi in Gujarat is India’s ceramic hub, whose products are in great demand both within the country and overseas. Much of this cargo travels by road to Deendayal Port at Kandla, about 134 km away, to be shipped onward to various destinations. It costs about ₹22,000 to transport a single container from Morbi to Kandla. This could be brought down to ₹7,000 if the Navlakhi port, located 45 km from Morbi, is modernised, as envisaged under a master plan drafted by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).

“The Navlakhi port can easily attract container cargo that goes to other ports,” says a GMB official.

Cargo volumes handled by non-major ports (major ports are under the central government and non-major are under states and union terrorities) in Gujarat are expected to quadruple to 2,000 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2040.

“We currently have capacity to handle 500-odd MTPA. We have appointed a consultant to determine the investment needed to bolster the cargo handling capacities of the ports,” says Mr. Rajkumar Beniwal, IAS, Vice Chairman and CEO, GMB, which oversees the state’s non-major ports.

To boost export-import traffic, GMB is undertaking cargo flow analysis to pinpoint bottlenecks and identify the infrastructure needed to expand port capacity.

In the past 10 years, traffic at the non-major ports in Gujarat has grown by 5 per cent. During 2023-24, they handled 448 MTPA of cargo, which is nearly 60 per cent of the 772 MTPA cargo handled by all non-major ports in India. Andhra Pradesh followed with 25 per cent, and Maharashtra with 10 per cent.

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