Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone of an ambitious project which will more than double the capacity of the country's largest container port JNPT in next two years.
Modi laid the foundation stone at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), situated off the financial capital's eastern seafront, for the Rs 7,900 crore fourth terminal project to be carried out in two phases.
He was accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The port aspires to be among the top 15 of the world with the implementation of several infrastructure projects, including the fourth terminal. At present it is ranked 31st.
The terminal will help the exim trade, and comes at a time when the country is aspiring to be a manufacturing powerhouse which is clear through the government's flagship 'Make in India' initiative.
The fourth terminal project is being executed by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Port of Singapore, on a design, built, fund, operate and transfer basis under which JNPT will get a 35.9 per cent share in revenues.
With the two-phased project, the overall container handling capacity of JNPT will more than double to 10 million standard units from the present 4.5 million, Union Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar had said yesterday.
Work on the project has been divided into two phases, entailing an investment of Rs 4,719 crore and Rs 3,196 crore, respectively, and work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
The project involves construction of two berths of one km in each of the two phases and land acquisition is also minimal as 70 hectares of land will be reclaimed from the sea for each of the berths.
At present, JNPT operates one of the three terminals at the port while the other two are done by D P World and APM Terminals, Kumar had said, adding that addition of the fourth terminal will mean three of the biggest port operators being present at the port.
A corporate film tracing growth of JNPT into the 31st biggest container port globally and projects being undertaken to increase capacity, including a standalone berth and a Special Economic Zone, was shown at the ceremony.
Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the financial capital which includes a public meeting, did not speak at the event.
The event comes amid a growing trend of state-run major ports losing market share to the privately run non-major ports, which has resulted in Gautam Adani-led Mundra Port to emerge as the largest port by cargo handled.