The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved fresh estimates of the project Deepening and Widening of Mumbai Harbour Channel and JN Port Channel (Phase-II). The cost of the project will be Rs.2029 crore excluding the Service Tax. The entire project cost will be funded through internal resources of JN Port Trust (JNPT) with market borrowing, if necessary.
The project includes the existing channel to be widened from presently 370 m to 450 m for straight reach, channel to be extended from existing 33.5 Kms to 35.5 Kms. The draft of the channel will be increased from existing 14 m draft to 15 m draft. The estimated quantity to be dredged to the tune of 35.03 million cu.mtr. including 1.73 million cu.mtr. rock dredging.
The work is likely to be implemented by inviting global tenders and to be completed within 2 years after its award.
The present total capacity of the JNPT for container handling is 5 million TEUs (Twenty feet Equivalent Unit). After the 4th Terminal becomes operational, this capacity will be enhanced to 9.8 million TEUs. Considering the expansion of the container vessel sizes on the main trade routes, it is anticipated that vessels of more than 8,000-12,000 TEU size will call the JN Port.
After completion, JNPT will attain capacity for handling additional traffic throughput of 1.67 million TEUs. The enhanced capability would help in handling larger vessels upto 12,500 TEUs besides economic benefits like saving in Vessel waiting time and savings on account of transshipment. The ultimate benefit to users will be in terms of lower unit cost, direct and indirect tax benefits in addition to reduction in vessel traffic congestion at JNPT. This would add to the competitiveness of India’s EXIM trade.
Over the years, the size of container ships is progressively becoming larger as it is much more economical to operate large ships and the cost of operation gets cheaper as much as by 40% for the larger ships. With increase in container cargo volume and increase in capacity of container carrying vessels fleet worldwide, JN Port has decided to handle new generation container vessels with wider beam and deeper drafts. The new generation bigger size vessels need deeper channel depth to navigate and accordingly deepening and widening of the channel further from 14.0 to 15.0 m draft with vessel capacity of 12,500 TEU is envisaged.
At present, JN Port is handling vessels having a draft of 14 m that is 6,000 TEUs capacity by taking advantage of tidal window.