Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the strategically important Great Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal will see the establishment of a transhipment port worth Rs 10,000 crore.
The announcement by PM Modi came on August 10 during the inauguration of the 2,300 km long submarine optical fibre cable connecting Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Chennai.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration had last year floated an expression of interest for the container transhipment terminal with the Free Trade Warehousing Zone in South Bay, Great Nicobar Island to provide Indian shippers an alternative to Colombo, Singapore and Port Klang (Malaysia) transhipment ports.
The dedicated container transshipment terminal at the strategic port locale in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands along the Bay of Bengal coastline offers two geographical advantages — proximity to the busy east-west international shipping route that can facilitate shorter transits and greater economies of scale, and deep natural water depths that can accommodate the latest generation of mega-ships.
The Prime Minister said Andaman and Nicobar will be developed as a hub of port-led development as it is at a competitive distance from many ports of the world. The new port will enable large ships to anchor, increasing India’s share in maritime trade and creating new employment opportunities.
A detailed project report (DPR) for the building of a transhipment port in the South Bay in Great Nicobar Island was prepared several years ago.
PM Modi’s announcement of the project for the archipelago comes as a stronger commitment to the development of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Island Development Agency (IDA) has already awarded the task of re-evaluating the DPR to WAPCOS, which is a public sector undertaking under the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti. The project, once realised, could become an alternative for Colombo port as a major trans-shipment hub given its location and closeness to the channel connecting China, Japan and Australia.