MoPSW works continuously for the promotion of Coastal Shipping under Sagarmala Programme

Mr Dilip Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, & Director (Projects) – Sagarmala Development Company Limited has handled several key infrastructure projects with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). He has led the economic co-operation wing with the Indian Embassy in Nepal. He is a Civil Engineer from IIT Roorkee and Post Graduate from IIT Delhi. He is a Central Engineering Services (CES) officer from 1994 and has done his MBA from FMS Delhi in 2004.

In an exclusive interaction with Mr Jagdamba Pandey, Mr Gupta shares his thought on the upcoming projects.

Please tell us about the three most significant projects in brief.

  • Operationalization of Specialized Vessels on select routes

    This project is about the deployment of suitable specialized vessels such as Ro-Ro, ROPAX, PAX, etc on the identified routes which have an advantage over rail and road transportation in terms of saving on account of time/distance or cost. 

    Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), through Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), is desirous of facilitating the companies to operate RO-RO, RO-PAX and Ferry services on various routes across the nation and provide the required support in terms of creation of suitable infrastructure and in procuring various approvals and clearances to make the project operational.

    To gauge the interest of private sector in the project an EoI was issued by MoPSW/SDCL in December 2020 wherein 21 companies had participated and shown interest on deployment of specialized vessels on the various routes.

    In order to systematically proceed ahead in the project, MoUs were executed with all 21 companies to explore and operationalize the initiative for the operationalization of specialized vessels on the various identified routes. This will entail an investment of Rs. 3,777 Cr with a direct employment potential of 7,638 persons and indirect employment potential of 5, 09,890 persons. 

    The purpose is to create supplementary mode of transportation which will not only be beneficial for the daily commuters, tourists movement and cargo transportation but also helpful in reducing carbon footprint by shifting to environmentally friendly mode of transportation from rail and road, provides impetus to the tourism industry, create job opportunities and saving in terms of both cost and travel time for the users.

  • Development of Product Specific Warehousing Space

    The project is to create Product Specific Warehousing Space/Silos such as Cement Silos, Liquid Tankers, Cold/Refrigerated Storage, Pharmaceutical storage etc at various Ports (including both Major and Non-Major Ports), MMLP (located near Port area) and alongside the Inland Waterways to reduce the storage losses, minimize overall logistic costs and to facilitate the consolidation / distribution of cargo in the hinterland.

    MoPSW is desirous of facilitating the companies to develop and operate the Warehousing at the various identified locations and provide the required support in terms of procuring various approvals and clearances and also provide assistance in obtaining the land for the project as per the prevailing terms if available with port to make the project operational.

    An EoI was issued by MoPSW/SDCL to gauge the interest of private sector in the aforesaid Project. Based on the outcome of the EoI, MoUs were executed with 24 companies which had submitted their application in response to the EoI.

    As per MoUs executed, the project entails an investment of Rs. 7,544 Cr with a direct employment potential of 160,985 persons and indirect employment potential of 2,63,875 persons.

  • MoU with IPRCL

MoU with Indian Port & Ropeway Corporation formerly known as Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd for working together for identifying and participating in the rail connectivity projects in coastal areas. SDCL has already made equity investment in the two of the railway connectivity projects in the past, one is Krishnapatnam Railway Company Ltd and Haridaspur Paradip Railway Company Ltd both these projects are under operation and provide faster evacuation of cargo from the port.

What is the chief ingredient that goes into the making of a successful investment?

Prior making investments in projects, SDCL in-house project management consultants minutely examine the financial details along with traffic data of the project.

Project will be taken up for investment only if a project falls under Sagarmala’s scope (as per the  pillars defined in Sagaramla Programme i.e Port Modernization, Port Connectivity, Port Led Industrialization, Coastal Community Development and Coastal Shipping) and found to be financially viable after detailed financial due diligence.

Thereafter legal due diligence is carried out for the project and after the approval of the board, SDCL invests in the project.

How do you see the role of Indian ports evolving in the next half a decade?

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has been working continuously for the promotion of Coastal Shipping under Sagarmala Programme. The Sagarmala programme is the flagship programme of the Ministry to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India’s 7,500 Km long coastline and potentially navigable waterways. 

MoPSW is taking various initiatives for upgradation and modernization of port capacity in the country. A road map has been prepared to increase the port capacity to 3300 MT by 2025 to cater the growing traffic.

In addition to the enhancement of the port capacities, various projects are planned with respect to provide connectivity to the port for faster evacuation of the cargo to enable port to increase their handling capacity and achieve the target level of port capacity with a minimal infrastructure investments.

Furthermore, with the objective of propelling India to the forefront of the Global Maritime Sector, MoPSW has formulated Maritime India Vision 2030 (MIV 2030), a blue print to ensure coordinated and accelerated growth of India’s Maritime sector in next decade.

Maritime India Vision envisions an overall investment of Rs. 3, 00,000- 3, 50,000 cr across ports, shipping and inland waterways categories. This vision roadmap is estimated to help to unlock Rs. 20,000+ cr worth of potential annual revenue for Indian Ports. Further, it is expected to create an additional approx. 20,000,000+ jobs (direct and non-direct) in the Indian Maritime sector. 

Describe two areas in your current project, where there is a high level of uncertainty. How do you tackle these uncertainties?

One of the major challenges in infrastructure project is land acquisition, but with the assistance from both State and Central Government, the process is quite smoothening now.

Sometimes, resentments on environmental issues come up but efforts are made to maintain a balance between development and natural resources. Moreover, environmental challenges are not hurdles as sustainable development is the need of the hour.

Tell us about your international projects.

SDCL has invested in India Ports Global Ltd – 100% subsidiary of SDCL-for Chabahar Port operations. Investment in Chabahar port is first overseas investment of India in the field of mutual cooperation between two countries. The Chabahar Project gives India a sea-land access route into Afghanistan and Central Asia through Iran’s Eastern borders.


(Courtesy: Marex Media)

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