Development of Minor Ports for Internal Transport Managing Regional Waterways and Canal System
At the 17th meeting of the maritime state development council, the apex advisory body for the development of the sector, representatives from maritime states, and the shipping ministry came together to discuss ways to increase coastal shipping and develop minor ports. The government formed a committee to assess the potential of over 150 non-major ports in the country, and link them with major ones to form a national grid for ports. Suggestions were made for developing the Minor Ports for Internal Transport Managing Regional Waterways and Canal System.
What are Minor Ports?
India, the second-largest country in Asia, has a coastline of about 7500km and is studded with 13 major ports and close to 200 minor ports. A minor port means a port other than a major port declared as such by the Central Government under any law. Minor ports are owned and managed by the State Governments. These ports have the facilities for the discharge of cargo from coasters or lighters only.
The increased participation of the private sector has resulted in a rise in the number of minor ports. Eventually, the cargo traffic handled by minor ports surpassed that of major ports. As a result, it has become imperative to concentrate on expanding the country’s minor ports. Furthermore, shipping plays a crucial role in India’s economy’s transportation sector, which is all the more incentive to construct minor ports.
Why do we need to develop Minor Ports?
Like mentioned before India has a vast coastline of 7500 km with a great number of ports. The Indian ports and shipping industry plays a crucial role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce. India currently ranks 16th among the maritime countries. These ports keep the economy running as most of India’s economy depends on the trade moved by sea. Around 70% of the country’s trade is transported by sea.
With greater rates of traffic growth, major ports will be unable to manage commerce if appropriate capacity augmentation plans are not implemented. The preoccupation of major ports with international trade will have an impact on the increase in coastal vessel operations. Coastal trade will have to rely more and more on minor ports to meet their sporadic needs. As a result, minor ports play a vital role in expanding emerging countries’ trade and economies.
Minor ports need the technological changes in transport systems as a whole and maritime transport, in particular, to have the trade going.
Managing Regional Waterways and Canal System
India is endowed with an extensive network of waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks and a long coastline accessible through the seas and oceans. It has the largest carrying capacity of any form of transport and is most suitable for carrying bulky goods over long distances.
India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters, and creeks. The total navigable length is 14,500 km (9,000 mi), out of which about 5,200 km (3,200 mi) of the river and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of the canal can be used by mechanized crafts. About 44 million tonnes (49,000,000 short tons) of cargo are moved annually through these waterways using mechanized vessels and country boats.
With such an extensive canal system, it is vital to control the trade that takes place on them. This might be accomplished by constructing ports for regional canals and waterways. Developing minor ports would not only strengthen trade regulation, but it will also help the country’s economy.
The greatest method to fulfill rising demand and relieve congestion at major ports so they can operate at full capacity is to improve the country’s minor ports. The development of minor ports with deeper draughts and more berths would make it easier to receive larger boats and cargoes. For exports, cargo from a minor port can be moved to a major port. Finally, the growth of minor ports supports the development of major ports, which helps to alleviate the significant economic problems that emerging countries like India face.
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