Current Scenario
Among the maritime states, Gujarat was the first to set up a maritime board to oversee the privatization of minor ports. It was also the first state to announce a separate port policy. The Government of Gujarat has announced the Port Policy in December, 1995, which integrates the development of ports with industrial development, power generation and infrastructure development. The policy envisages the development of 10 green field ports, 6 of them as fully private and 4 as joint sector ports. The BOOT policy for the ports was announced in 1997 and subsequently the BOT law (the Guajrat Infrastructure Development Act) has been framed to invite private sector participation in the State through international competitive bidding.

Capacity Scenarios
The cargo traffic handled by Gujarat Minor ports was 73 Million tons in year 2000-2001, 82.55 Million tons in 2001-02, 84.12 Millon tons in 2002-03, 89.35 Million tons in 2003-04, 95 Million Tons in 2004-05, 108 Million tons in 2005-06, 132.44 Million tons in 2006-07 and 198 MT in 2007-08. Thus, Gujaratports handle a majorchunk of port traffic across the western region of the country.

At present Gujarat ports handle around 20% of the cargo throughput of the country. By 2015, the throughput for the country is estimated to be around 1027 million tonnes. At the same time, the Gujarat ports will handle 400 million tonnes taking the share of the state to 39% of the country. The western region ports in Maharashtra and Gujarat serve northern hinterland market. As per theassessment of the PODEG study conducted by the Netherland Experts, 38% of the general cargo and 42% of the container throughput of Mumbai ports is from the northern hinterland. Also 30% of the cargo throughput of the Gujarat ports is for the northern hinterland. Adding up the above, the present share of Gujarat ports of the cargo generated from the northern hinterland is around30%. This is expected to increase to 100% by 2015.

For dry bulk, the optimal ship size is 150000 DWT, for liquids it is 300,000 DWT and for containersthe current trend is for 10,000 TEU. Handling these sizes require direct berthing as well as the draft ofnot less than 14m. Therefore ports having these requirements should be encouraged so as to achieve the economies of scale in transportation and to ultimately benefit the consumer.

The optimal ships will require to be supplemented by an efficient handling system. The existing handling systems in private ports are comparable to the best practices in the Indian scenario but fall short of the international best practices.