In a mega deal, the APM Terminals, one of the largest container terminal operators in the world, has signed an agreement with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) to develop a new container terminal at the proposed Vadhavan port project in Maharashtra.
Estimated to cost Rs 76,220 crore, the container terminal will have a capacity to handle annual cargo of 23 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) or 254 million tonne.
The signing of MoU took place in the presence of Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal and Global Chief Executive Officer of APM Terminals Keith Svendsen, on the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024.
The Netherlands-headquartered APM Terminals operates 62 container terminals globally, including two in India — Pipavav in Gujarat and Nhava Sheva at Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai.
The Union Cabinet in February 2020 had approved setting up Vadhavan port under the Sagarmala Programme.
The port, to be helmed by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), is located in the eco-sensitive Dahanu taluka in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.
It has a natural draft of around 20 metres close to the shore, making it ideal to handle larger container vessels of 16,000-25,000 TEUs capacity, giving the advantages of economies of scale and reducing logistics costs.
The JNPT and Mundra — the two largest container handling major ports of the country can handle only mid-size container ships as they have a draft of 15 metres and 16 metres respectively.
Compared to this, the world’s largest container handling modern deep draft ports require a draft of 18-20 metres. The ever-increasing size of container ships makes it imperative that a deep draft container port in the west coast of India is developed, to accommodate such ships.
The deep-draft port at Vadhavan will be able to handle various types of cargos like containers, liquid including LNG, break bulk cargo etc, as the natural advantage of deeper draft of 20 metres will be availed.
The greenfield port at Vadhavan is also necessary to cater to the spillover traffic after JNPT’s planned capacity of 10 million TEUs is fully utilised.
The proposed deep draft port in Maharashtra is expected to have a container handling capacity of more than 23 million TEUs by 2040, thereby placing India on the global map of top 10 container ports.