India - Greens see red over Indian govt's $9.2bn mega container port plan at Vadhavan
The western Indian state of Maharashtra is all set to get a mega container port, to be constructed at a cost of INR655.45bn ($9.2bn) at Vadhavan, around 160 km north-west of Mumbai – provided it crosses hurdles created for it in the courts by environmental activists.
Two local environmental bodies, called Vadhavan Bandar Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti (VBVSS) and Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA), have opposed the proposal of the BJP-led central government to create the massive, deep-draughted port at Vadhavan, near Dahanu in Palghar district on the Gujarat border.
The long-pending plan, which was cleared on Wednesday, 5 February, at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is set to catapult India among countries boasting the top 10 container ports in the world.
At the moment, the largest container port in India is Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), which sits in the 28th position among the world’s top container ports, with annual throughput of 5.1m teu. After the completion of its fourth container terminal in 2023, its capacity will increase to 10m teu, making it the 17th biggest container port in the world.
However, JNPT’s biggest problem is an alongside draught of just 15 metres. Even Mundra, further north on the western Indian coastline, has a maximum draught of 16 metres, and can handle only mid-size containerships, making it impossible for mainline operators on the East-to-West routes to call with vessels of 15,000 teu and upwards which have become the norm on Asia - Europe