Andaman & Nicobar May Get a Major Port
Ministry also mulling a shipping co. in Andaman with SCI having stake in it.
Under the Central jurisdiction, the port can access budgetary grants. It can be developed as a transshipment port such as Colombo.
The Ministry is also exploring the possibility of setting up a shipping company at Andaman in which the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will have a stake. The shipping company will acquire and operate ships.
Under the Central jurisdiction, the port can access budgetary grants. It can be developed as a transshipment port such as Colombo in Sri Lanka, where majority of cargo is transshipped.
Nods from the Island Development Authority (IDA) headed by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Planning Commission are required to execute the proposal. The proposal is at a fairly nascent stage, as of now.
According to Mr. Manoranjan Bhakta, Member of Parliament, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, “This has been our long-pending demand. The Andamans enjoy a location advantage for accessing South-East Asia. The Centre can develop this as a gateway for foreign trade.”
Currently, the major ports are Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Vishakhapattanam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Jawaharlal Nehru port, Ennore and Kandla.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have 23 ports, according to the Indian Ports Association data — Port Blair, Mus (Car Nicobar), Havelock, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Rangat, Hut Bay, Katchal, Campbell Bay, Neil Island, Dugong Creek, Nancowry, Chowra, Teressa, Kondul, Pillow Millow, East Island, Cinque Island, Jolly Bouy Island, Tillongchong, Castle Bay and South Bay. According to the Government data, ports at Pondicherry (now – Puducherry), Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep together handled 1.6 million tonnes of cargo in 2006-07.
Incidentally, a high-powered committee set up by the Government a few years ago had recommended developing Port Blair as a cruise tourism destination.
The shipping activities at A&N Islands are managed by the Port Management Board, which is under the A&N Administration. So, the income from shipping operations accrues to the consolidated fund. “If a major port were to be set up, it would help to have a coordinated development of port as a transshipment hub given the geographical advantage,” Mr. Mohammed Jadwet, President, Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.
“The administration has a fleet of 70-80 odd vessels—mostly passenger, some passenger-cum-cargo and some pure cargo,” said Mr. Jadwet. He also said that given the administration’s fleet size, “corporatisation” of shipping operations would help access better technical knowledge. About 5-6 of these vessels that offer services between the mainland and the Islands, are managed by SCI and the administration pays management fee to the SCI.
“There are five private companies that offer cargo services between mainland and the Islands, namely - GATI, Transport Corporation of India (TCI), EHL (Ellon Hinengo Ltd.), MAK & ITT Shipping,” he said.
Then there are some 20-25 companies that offer inter-island services with 50-100 ton vessels.
Currently, Shipping Corporation of India offers regular passenger services to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapattanam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa, according to the official website of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is one sailing from Vishakhapattanam (Andhra Pradesh) in a month.
Courtesy: The Hindu, Business Line.