The Indian Ministry of Shipping said major state-owned ports would get Rs. 649.11 crores (approximately $120 million) for maintenance dredging, as part of fiscal year 2013-14 budget plan.
The announcement was made by Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan during a parliament session on Monday. The government had allocated Rs. 245.34 crores (about $45.4 million) in fiscal year 2012-13, which ended March 31, 2013.
“Three major ports, such as Chennai, Ennore and Vishakapatnam, have navigational channels with more than 17-meter (about 56-foot) drafts and are capable of handling larger vessels. Also, the government has been providing subsidy to meet the cost of maintenance dredging in Kolkata Port, which is a riverine port with a very long navigational channel,” the minister said.
Draft restrictions currently prevent bigger ships from calling at the Port of Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru), India’s top container handler. A $300-million dredging project at Nhava Sheva, which is scheduled for completion by September next year, will enable the port to accept vessels with drafts up to 14 meters (46 feet), compared with 12.5 meters (41 feet) at present.
The Cochin Port Authority recently completed a dredging project to provide a 48-foot draft at the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal, a DP World facility.