Mumbai harbour channel to be deepened, expanded for more traffic

March 1st, 2012 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 1 (IANS) In a major boost to maritime trade and commerce, the Indian government Thursday decided to deepen, lengthen and widen the harbour channel and entry points to the Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.

The decision will enable the movement of larger ships, faster turnaround and reduced waiting time for ships and hence optimisation of resources at the two key ports serving Mumbai.

The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure cleared the proposal, estimated to cost Rs.1571.60 crore, and scheduled for completion within the next 25 months, according to an official statement.

The MbPT and JNPT, the two main ports serving Mumbai, together handle the lion’s share of the cargo movement as compared to all other major ports in India.

However, on account of the present geographical restraints on the depth, length and width of the harbor channel, its further development has been hampered.

With the proposed widening, lengthening and deepening of the harbour channel welcomed by maritime circles, the business activities at both ports is expected to receive a major fillip.

One of the main aims of the proposed project is to attract international container vessels and enable the JNPT to develop as a hub port on the country’s west coast.

After the proposed widening of the harbour channel, both ports will be made capable of handling vessels up to 6,000 twenty-feet equivalent units (TEUs) and up to 14 metres draught by using the tidal window.

Similarly, the channel length will be increased from the present 29 km to 33.54 km to meet the natural water depth of 14 metres at sea.

The increase in the width - from the present dimension of 325 metres in the straight reach to a minimum 370 metres will also help safer and smoother movement of huge vessels.

Officials said the project would help optimum utilization of capacity, enable faster turnaround of larger vessels, reduce ship waiting time and costs, take care of future growth in maritime traffic at both the ports, help the regional economic development and generate employment opportunities.

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