The Indian Government has announced that around seven major ports worth $274m will commence operations under public-private partnership mode during 2021-22.

While presenting the Union Budget 2021, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that major ports will shift from managing their own operational services to a model where operations will be managed by a private partner on their behalf.

Proposals for introducing a subsidy support scheme of $222m in global tenders, floated by ministries and CPSEs for a period of five years to Indian shipping firms, were also made.

Sitharaman noted that the aim is to encourage the flagging of merchant vessels in the country.

She also said that the initiative will offer training and employment opportunities for Indian seafarers along with Indian companies gaining an increased share in the global industry.

Currently, there are 12 major ports that are controlled by the Indian Government.

These ports are at Deendayal, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, Kamarajar, V. O. Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, and Kolkata.

In total, these ports are responsible for handling about 60% of India’s cargo traffic.

The budget also proposed to enhance the recycling of vessels at Alang in the Indian state of Gujarat.

The Hindu quoted Sitharaman as saying that the capacity of recycling shipyards would be doubled from 4.5 million light displacement tonnes by 2024.

India has sanctioned Recycling of Ships Act 2019 and has agreed to abide by the Hong Kong International Convention.

After the enactment of the law, nearly 90 ship recycling yards at Gujarat’s Alang have attained HKC-compliant certificates.

Recently, Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that India is aiming to capture at least 50% of the global ship recycling business.

India holds around 30% of the global ship recycling business as of now.