By Nageshwar Patnaiik in Bhubaneswar, November 18, 2022: The Odisha state cabinet approved a new port policy on Friday aiming to facilitate private sector investments in maritime sector and the development of ports and port-related industries.

Incidentally, the approval comes a week before the state is set to host its flagship biennial investment summit, Make in Odisha conclave.

According to the policy, the OMB will prepare an Odisha maritime perspective plan encompassing the key strengths and challenges in maritime development.

The plan will also study the maritime ecosystem involving ports, hinterland potential, cargo evacuation, port connectivity, environmental enhancement and development of the coastal communities.

The policy also promotes other maritime ventures like coastal shipping, promotion of marine tourism, development of multipurpose harbours and introduction of sea-plane connectivity, promotion of facilities and creation of infrastructure for shipbuilding, ship breaking and related activities in the state.

Though the state had formulated a port policy in 2004, chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra said the existing policy has become outdated and the new one will focus on adoption of latest technology and creating sustainable maritime development along the Odisha coast.

“Because of its strategic location, Odisha presents a vast untapped potential for ports and maritime development. This will act as the gateway for freight and commodities to and from the rich hinterlands,” said the chief secretary.

In June 2021, Odisha was among a few coastal states, which opposed the draft Indian Ports Bill apprehending that the new legislation may dilute powers already vested with the states on the management of non-major ports.

With a vast coastline of 480 kilometres, Odisha has three operational ports at Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur. These apart, the state government have identified 12 potential sites for the development of non-major ports in different districts and a riverine port on Mahanadi.

Approval of the new policy is crucial as the state on August 23 constituted the Odisha Maritime Board (OMB), whose primary function is to coordinate activities of non-major ports in the state.

The policy has also proposed to take up the Odisha ports capacity augmentation plan (OPCAP), to help identify and improve the cargo handling capacities of the different ports in the state. In 2021-22, Odisha handled around 160 MTPA of cargo.

The policy also aims to create an ecosystem to improve the supply chain efficiency and augment the generation of cargo by creating land banks around the ports for setting-up logistics infrastructure such as: free trade and warehousing zone, storage facilities, inland container depot and port and jetty infrastructure. A dedicated logistics cell will be established to augment the logistics infrastructure in the state.

The OMB would invite international competitive bidding or sign a memorandum of understanding to attract private investors in the maritime development of the state. Besides, development of the captive jetties would also be encouraged to enhance the total industrial output of the state.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of