The Government of India’s Ministry of Shipping is set to establish a new technology centre at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Chennai to serve the ports and maritime sector.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Ministry and IIT officials to build the Rs705.3m ($8m) facility, which will be known as the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC).

NTCPWC is set to be developed under the Ministry of Shipping’s Sagarmala programme, and will function as a technology arm of the ministry.

It is anticipated to provide engineering and technological inputs, as well as support the development of ports, the Inland Waterways Authority of India and other institutions.

"Envisioned as a world-class, state-of-the-art centre, NTCPWC will be a hub for latest technology tools and reduce our dependence on foreign institutions."

NTCPWC will be designed to conduct applied research in different fields such as 2D and 3D modelling of ocean, coastal and estuarine flows.

Other projected fields include sediment transport and morphodynamics, navigation and manoeuvring, dredging and siltation, port and coastal engineering-structures, and breakwaters.

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In addition, the site is expected to facilitate the 2D / 3D modelling of autonomous platforms and vehicles, as well as experimental and CFD modelling of flow and hull interaction.

Research into the hydrodynamics of multiple hulls and ocean renewable energy will be carried out by NTCPWC.

Ministry of Shipping said in a statement: “Envisioned as a world-class, state-of-the-art centre, NTCPWC will be a hub for latest technology tools and reduce our dependence on foreign institutions.

“It will also reduce the cost of research drastically and result in cost and time savings for work in the port and maritime sector.”

The completed NTCPWC facility will be used to develop indigenous software and technology, and frame technical guidelines and standards, as well as address port and maritime issues with models and simulations.

It will also work towards the successful commercialisation of new technologies.

Investment in the construction of the centre will be shared by the Ministry of Shipping, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and several of the country’s major pprts.

The Ministry of Shipping’s grant will be spent to build facilities such as the Field Research Facility (FRF), Sedimentation and Erosion Management Test Basin and Ship / Tow Simulator.

NTCPWC is expected to become self-sustainable within three years of operation by conducting industry consultancy projects for the Indian and global port and maritime sectors.