The Ministry of Railways will be taking up 21 port-rail connectivity projects, at an estimated cost of more than Rs.20,000 Crores, as identified under the port-connectivity enhancement objective of Sagarmala, the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping. These projects are aimed at strengthening the rail evacuation network and the last mile connectivity to the ports. In addition, another six projects are being considered by the Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL).
The Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL), which has been incorporated by the Ministry of Shipping, would take up the projects after prioritizing them. IPRCL has already awarded 3 port connectivity projects for Vishakhapatnam and Chennai ports for quick evacuation of cargo, and another 19 projects are in the pipeline.
Many port-rail connectivity projects have been identified as part of the National Perspective Plan, April 2016, under the Sagarmala programme including development of heavy haul rail line from Ib Valley/Talcher to Paradip. The project will help in transportation of thermal coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) to various coastal power plants in southern India via coastal shipping. Other rail connectivity projects to major ports like Tuticorin and non-Major ports like Dhamra, Gopalpur, Krishnapatnam have also been proposed.
These projects will enhance port connectivity to the hinterland and help in reducing logistics cost and time for cargo movement making Indian trade more competitive.
Sagarmala is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping for promoting port-led development in India. It aims to achieve capacity expansion and modernization of sea-ports along India’s coastline, enhance port connectivity to the hinterland, facilitate port led- industrialization to promote trade and sustainable development of coastal communities.
The National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala Programme which was released in April by the Prime Minister identifies projects under the 4 major objectives of the programme – i) Port Modernization & New Port Development, ii) Port Connectivity Enhancement, iii) Port-led Industrialization and iv) Coastal Community Development. More than 150 projects have been identified which will mobilize investment of more than Rs. 4 lac crore and generate approximately 1 crore new jobs, including 40 lac direct jobs, over a period of 10 years. These projects are expected to generate annual logistics cost savings of close to Rs 35,000 crore and provide boost to India’s merchandise exports by $110 billion by 2025.