The Indian government has approved plans to build a new 20 million TEU container port, according to national media.
Widespread reports say plans to build the proposed Vadhaven Port on India’s west coast were given the go-ahead on 5 February 2020 at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The proposed port is believed to cost approximately $9.2 billion (INR655.45 billion) and will be built on a so-called ‘landlord model’, where infrastructure is leased to private firms or industries.
The deep-sea port will be built at Dahanu, 140 kilometers north of Mumbai. The objective is to increase India’s capacity to handle the biggest container ships in the world and support its maritime infrastructure.
Once completed, the Vadhaven Port will automatically become one of the ten busiest container ports in the world. On current traffic it would overtake Hong Kong in seventh and be only just behind Busan, South Korea.
It would also leapfrog the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), currently India’s biggest port. However, it is not being devised as a direct competitor as JNPT will own 51% as part of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
The JNPT accounts for 55% of India’s container traffic and will see its capacity increase from 5.13 million to 10 million TEU once its fourth container terminal is launched in 2023.
However, its current depth of 15 meters is not sufficient to handle the largest container vessels in the world, the latest of which can carry up to 22,000 TEU.