Unable to find favourable response from bidders, the Mumbai Port Authority has extended the tender deadline for the construction of a marina project at Princess Dock till 24 August.
The port authority in June 2023, had invited private players to build a state-of-the-art marina in three years, to cater to yachts that visit or are based in Mumbai and promote the city as a world-class tourist destination. The date for bid submission was 24 July this year.
The project estimated to cost about Rs 575.19 crore is proposed to be built under a public private partnership (PPP) model, wherein the appointed concessionaire has to design, build, finance, operate it for 45 years.
An area of approximately 9.02 hectares has been allocated for the development of the marina, out of which two hectares have been reserved for commercial development and the remaining for the yacht facility. The commercial space will have hotels, restaurants, office spaces and other yacht facilities of international standard.
Earlier in August 2021, the port authority had also floated tenders for the development of marina on the Princess and Victoria docks. However, the plan to develop the marina failed to take off due to lack of bidder forcing the port authority to restructure the project.
The Maharashtra Maritime Board had made attempts to set up a marina at the Gateway of India and one near Radio Club but the project did not take off.
What Is A Marina?
A marina or dock is where yachts and other small vessels can moor up to get supplies and fuel and for maintenance checks. Unlike a port, which accommodates large passenger and cargo ships, a marina is a small basin. Often, they can be home to several small luxury yachts.
A marina not only provides a secure environment for yachts and boats, but also offers related services like maintenance, spare parts, accessories, housekeeping and fuelling. There are options for recreational facilities and restaurants. Thus, they have the potential to create a large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities.
For a country with a vast coastline of over 7,500 km and a rising tide of millionaires, India hardly has a marina to park its luxury yachts or pleasure boats. The country’s lone operational marina is at Kochi but there has been little movement in this direction up the western coast.
The Kochi International Marina was developed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and has started operations in 2010. Further, in February 2023, former Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced setting up of a marina at Byndoor in Udupi district.
The Princess Dock at Mazgaon in south Mumbai, where the Mumbai Port is proposing to develop the marina, was built in the eighteenth century during the British rule in India to manage the increase of maritime traffic in Mumbai.
A key reason for setting up a marina in Mumbai is the high number of yachts that visit or are based in the city.
Moreover, the fleet anchors the Gateway of India monument, requiring owners to step on board via a small slipway or, in the case of larger yachts, hire tenders to ferry them around. Having the most number of privately owned leisure boats, it is a ready market for marina.
Due to unavailability of a designated marina in Mumbai, at any given time, around 200 small leisure boats can be seen moored near the Gateway of India.
Considering all these factors, as well as the historical-cultural importance of Mumbai, the project implementing authority has decided to create a marina equipped with all the typical services of the best marinas in the world and open the “city to tourism by sea”.