Mr. G.K. Vasan,
Mr. Trivedi, our newly appointed Secretary – Congratulations,
Mr. Kumar, Chairman, JNPT,
Senior officials from the Ministry of Shipping and from JNPT,
Members of India’s maritime fraternity,
I’m very pleased to celebrate Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s 24th Anniversary with you. As an MP from Mumbai, I’m fortunate that my tenure as Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping is coinciding with the start of JNPT’s Silver Jubilee celebrations. This port was commissioned in 1989 by Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi with a vision to decongest both Mumbai city and Mumbai Port Trust.
I am proud to state that JNPT has not only fulfilled the ambitious targets and expectations that were set out for it two and half decades ago, but has also successfully evolved into India’s primary gateway for international trade. Today, JNPT handles more than 60% of India’s container cargo, it has consistently registered a annual throughput of more than 4 million TEUs and is one of the world’s leading container ports.
JNPT has also been a trend-setter in Public-Private Partnerships. The two private terminals, GTI (The Gateway Terminal) and NSICT (Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal Pvt Ltd.), are examples of this. The recent partnership with DP World for the development of a standalone Container Handling Facility and the development of the 4th Container Terminal will enable JNPT to double its annual throughput to nearly 10 million TEUs by the year 2018-19.
The global economy is still reeling under the pressures of the 2008 financial crisis. This has obviously impacted global trade, and the first industry to get hit hard is always the maritime sector. In an effort to propel investor confidence and increase India’s port capacity, the Ministry of Shipping is reforming TAMP to allow Major Ports like JNPT to compete more effectively with private ports in India as well as in other parts of the world. We want to deregulate tariffs at all Indian ports in line with international best practices, and reforming TAMP will be a major economic reform of this government. It will also create a level-playing field, which we believe, will enable port capacity to be increased at a quicker pace, with significantly improved efficiency and quality levels.
We are also working to provide incentives to the Shipping Industry and Seafarers, attract investments in our National Waterways, and to develop our Lighthouses, scattered across our coastline, into tourism hubs. In fact, we have recently received financial support from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to develop Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse, not very far from here, into a major tourist destination.
JNPT has an exciting future ahead. There are a number of projects in its pipeline which will make it a multipurpose hub for India’s international trade. This is crucial not only for the maritime sector, but also for the economies of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, in particular. I’m particularly thankful to JNPT for granting Right of Way permissions to the Maharashtra Government for its ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Sealink, which will connect the island city to the hinterland and will be a huge boon for Mumbaikars.
Today, we’re also honouring the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals who have successfully partnered with JNPT over the years. Let me congratulate all the awardees and their teams for their conviction and hard work. I would also like to congratulate all JNPT’s employees and stakeholders, from Dock Labourers to its Board of Trustees to the private and public sector concessionaires, for demonstrating their commitment towards making JNPT a global leader in the maritime sector.
Once again, I wish the entire JNPT family my very best on its 25th year.
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