Since its institution in the latter part of the 19th century, the Mumbai Port has played an integral role in providing marine infrastructure in India. Comprising of a natural harbor extending up to 400 square kilometres, the port is spread over a very vast area – 4, 63,000 square metres – in totality.
With a pier length touching nearly 8,000 km, the Mumbai Port has excellent road transportation network of over 125 km and rail connectivity with both the city’s rail networks. This makes the port exceedingly viable in terms of transportation connectivity with the whole of the city, which in-turn minimises the time spent in transit.
Comprising of three wet wharfing facilities and two dry wharfing facilities, the port is equipped with facilities for handling both dry as well as frozen cargo. Vessels can avail of re-fuelling facilities at about all berthing areas, thus further adding to the port’s functionality.
In the order of their establishment, the oldest wet wharfing is the Prince’s Dock (1880) followed by Victoria Dock (1888) and the Indira Dock (1914). Of the three, the Indira Dock has the largest berthing capacitance at 15, followed by Victoria at 14 and Prince at eight berths. All the berthing facilities offer poly-utility.
The two dry wharfing areas used for the purposes of upkeep and furbishing of the vessels are Merewether and Hughes, located within the ambit of Prince Dock and Indira Dock respectively.
Apart from these wharf areas, in order to cater to the docking requirements of cruise and cargo container vessels, there is a separate pier posting known as the Ballard Pier. The Mumbai Port also has a separate depot specifically to address the traffic of tanker ships.
Though at present this depot, known as Jawahar Dweep, has four bulwarks to cover the vehicular traffic of tanker vessels, construction of another bulwark has been undertaken and is expected to be completed by this year. In addition to this, a few other major construction projects have also been undertaken, a couple of which are expected to be completed very soon. Through these projects, it has been sought to provide a further thrust to the existing operations of the Mumbai Port. Some interesting features of the Port of Mumbai are:
- Port of Mumbai has completed 137 years of its service
- It can supply drinking water to the ships both in the streams and at the bearth
- The storage area is built of steel-framed modern shed and walls of pre-cast concrete blocks
- Has an offshore berth Pir Pau, which handles liquid chemical and petroleum products
- Has 24 welding plants
- Has compressed air plant in Merewether
- Cargo handling equipments include electric wharf cranes, shore gantry cranes, and rubber tyre gantry cranes
- Container handling equipment includes portainers, transtainers, and reach stackers
- Dredging equipment includes non-propelled, grab dumb pontoons, non-propelled back-hoe dredger, and propelled suction grab hopper dredger
- Has one flat barge with a floating crane
- Four harbour tugs and two private hired tugs
Mumbai Port is taking big strides to ensure that its name features amongst the world’s leading marine infrastructural facilities, in the coming few years. In August of 2010, the port was in news because of the collision of merchant vessels MSC Chitra and MV Khalija-III.
Image Credits: prowsedge , qianlong , haskoningindia , tribuneindia