It is a well-known fact that when it comes to transport of raw materials and finished products using coastal shipping and inland waterways reduces the cost of such logistics by 60-80% as compared to railway lines or road transport lines. It is based on this researched statistic that the Sagarmala project has been proposed by the Indian government as a strategic initiative. This customer-centric initiative is aimed at achieving the modernization of India’s ports through a total of 150 projects. These include increasing connectivity, port-led industrialization and also coastal community development.
This project as a concept or idea was first brought forth during the Vajpayee government in 2003. The goal is to make water transport as cheap and effective as possible. This initiative aims at the transformation of the existing Ports in India into modernized world class ports. It also focuses on the Integration of various aspects of port development. Also this deals with industrial clusters, hinterland and the most efficient evacuation system through road, rail, inland waters and coastal waterways. The broad objective of this project is to transform Ports into the drivers of economic activity in coastal areas.
In 2015, the Indian Cabinet approved this project. To start off they are developing 12 ports of India along with around 1208 islands. The project was launched by the ministry of shipping in Karnataka. This program is aimed at promoting port-led development in India by tapping into the 7500 km long coastline and 14500 km of potentially navigable waterways which is also part of the strategic locations on important international maritime trade routes.
The Indian government has come up with a scheme similar to land based development projects where parts of a city are dubbed as special economic zones or SEZ’s. For parts of the Indian coastline there will be similar divisional units considered for development called as Coastal Economic Regions (CER). This project will boost the standard of living of people in the coastal community. The Sagarmala project has been allocated initial funding of Rs. 1000 crores by the government of India.
The main initiative that is spearheading the Sagarmala project is the proposed construction of six mega ports. These would meet all international standards. These ports will be raised in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Kerala will have the Vizhinjam International Seaport at Vizhinjam. Karnataka will have the Tadadi port in Tadadi, and so on and so forth.
This ambitious project has really impressive statistics. The project estimates to reduce the existing logistics cost for trade in the country from 18% to 10%. This will in-turn save the country up to Rs 40000 crore per year in logistics by the year 2025. This will also mean the creation of 1 crore jobs under the Sagarmala project from start to completion. Most of these jobs will be in shipping and will see the coastal community flourish. All in all this will see India finally harness the natural resource of a lengthy coastline to boost its economy and increase the standard of living of people in the country.
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