Manager, Strategic Cell
Gujarat Maritime Board
Over the last few months or almost a whole year, the whole world is struggling to cope up with the falling economy, inflation, weak demands and bailouts of major financial institutions in Europe. India too is no exception, but thanks to its alert banking system and tight control of Government, the effects are not so severe at present, but serious enough to compel our policy makers to burn their midnight oil and think something different to achieve the desired growth targets and stability. It is all over news for last few months, that there is a policy paralysis at the central level, which is hindering our progress and in a way the development of this huge nation.
While working for the State Government, it sometimes amazes me that despite this entire clamor all over the world, there is no such desperation in this State. People of this State as well the proactive administration does not show any sign of anxiety. The focus always remains on better and transparent administration as well as, to bring out new development friendly implementable policies. Over the years, Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summits (VGGIS-2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011), provided the much needed platform for the investors around the world, to explore opportunities in this vibrant state that is beaming with 100% electricity connections to all the villages with 24hr supply, excellent road connectivity to the extreme ends of the population, people with tremendous business mindset & risk taking ability and extremely popular leadership along with proactive governance.
Gujarat has skillfully utilized its resources and explored new avenues for providing best opportunities to its people. Being the State having largest coastline is a natural advantage to Gujarat, which it is utilizing to its optimum advantage through Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) - an authority constituted in 1982 to manage, control and administer the minor ports of Gujarat. GMB is in the forefront of some remarkable policy initiatives of the nation. It is always a forerunner in devising new strategies for better administration and strategic utilization of its 1600km coastline. Along with having its main focus on port developments and administration, GMB has also diversified its interests in other sectors of port led developments such as Shipbuilding, Ship repairs, Port Cities etc. It is always in vanguard in exploring new opportunities in this sector depending upon the market scenario and demands in international and national arcade.
GMB had revolutionized the port sector in the country by introducing Port Policy in 1995, more than 15 years back. In Port Policy, about 10 Greenfield sites were identified for development as ports under various models of development. Since then, there is no looking back for the Port sector of this State with continuous increase in cargo on ports of Gujarat, which increased from 16 MMT in 1995 to 259 MMT in 2011-12. The Capacity has also been augmented from about 17 MMT in 1995 to 323 MMT in 2011-12.
Also, to streamline and integrate development in Shipbuilding Sector, as well as, to optimize utilization of infrastructure available and planned, GMB has formulated Shipbuilding Policy 2010 (First in the Country), chartering the role of the Government, GMB and Shipbuilding Companies, the support/assistance that would be extended by Government, charges to be levied by GMB, guidelines for allotment of waterfront and backup land for setting up of shipbuilding/repair yards and for the fabrication/repair of offshore rigs etc.
Though there is a list of endless achievements in the name of Gujarat Maritime Board; it is not an organization that would rest on its laurels. The zest for achieving continuous excellence and remain atop the maritime community of the country always pushes the people governing this organization towards thinking something innovative and coming out with better ways to achieve greater heights and truly making the maritime trade of the State as the backbone of the economy providing continued service and opportunity to maritime developers.
The bi-annual summit of Vibrant Gujarat is a serious affair not only for the state government but also for Gujarat Maritime Board because efforts to provide novel opportunities to the interested developers are at the helm of affairs prior to the Summit to ring in investments in the maritime sector.
Vibrant Gujarat Summit for 2013 is round the corner and being a proactive organization that we are, GMB has initiated its efforts in thinking about creation of the opportunities that would be doled out for the investors.
Keeping its legacy throbbing and alive, GMB has now intends to develop more Green Field Ports and Marine Shipbuilding Parks (MSPs) along its fertile coastline.
We had carried out such an exercise way back before 1995 for providing a plethora of sites suitable for Port development along the coast of Gujarat which was lapped up by the investors as and when the bidding for these sites was opened up for the investors. The results of the same are the private ports that have developed along the coastline providing incessant cargo to the coastline of Gujarat and a few more in the pipeline that would beam in future.
Keeping its legacy throbbing and alive, GMB has now intends to develop more Green Field Ports and Marine Shipbuilding Parks (MSPs) along its fertile coastline. These sites would be dished out to the investors for upcoming Vibrant Summit in 2013.
As a part of its endeavor, GMB has identified certain stretches and sites along the coastline of Gujarat and intends to develop these sites as Greenfield Ports and MSPs for which consultancy service is invited for conducting Techno-economic Study, in month of June.
Initially, an in-house comprehensive study was undertaken for entire 1600km coastline of Gujarat State for identification of sites for further investigation for development of Greenfield Ports and Marine Shipbuilding Parks. The complete process of Identification of sites for Greenfield Ports and MSPs was processed in-house along with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar.
In the first stage, the process of short listing of Stretches was initiated by excluding coastline of all the existing GMB ports & Private Ports, Proposed Private Ports, Ecologically sensitive and protected areas, areas going to get submerged under Kalpasar Dam, Present and proposed Power plants, Shipyards, Captive jetties, Wind turbines and other such major infrastructure project sites and areas with habitations near the coastline, from the Study.
After short listing the stretches, the next level assessment was initiated by marking the villages for which the secondary level data collection for aspects such as Environment, Navigation, Connectivity and Infrastructure availability etc. was initiated. Three types of Matrices were developed for each site (1) Environmental Matrix (2) Navigational Matrix, and (3) Connectivity and Infrastructure Matrix.
Based on the above Matrices a Final Matrix was prepared and Ranking was assigned based on the total marks obtained in each of the above matrices. Finally, five Stretches with corresponding village sites, have been identified for further investigation purpose for Greenfield ports and six stretches have been identified for proposed MSPs.
With a view to inviting bids for the Projects, GMB has initiated its efforts to conduct studies for determining the technical feasibility and financial viability of these project sites. The Consultants selected through this bidding procedure shall prepare the Final Report in accordance with the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Request for Proposal (RFP) Document on the basis of which future course of action would be decided by GMB.
There is also a second school of thought which is of the opinion that currently Gujarat does not require any new sites for ports or shipyards and the sites that are already identified and under development should be developed first. However, it is pertinent to note that the Infrastructure Development is a highly intricate process with huge gestation period and various other nuances that affect its development. These proposed initiatives are not just to be utilized today or in the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Summit but they are like investments which will bear ripened fruits in times to come. In addition to this, it will help Gujarat Maritime Board in determining the future configuration of the coastline and milestones to be achieved. With its initiatives and forward looking approach, the state of Gujarat as well as GMB are incessantly achieving new heights and will unceasingly outshine itself further following its approach towards constructive development.