Having lagged behind for months, Mumbai’s Offshore Container Terminal project is once more full of activity and is set for commissioning by October 2013
After several hiccups the Mumbai Port’s Offshore Container Terminal project which had faced plenty of flax and got involved in controversies is finally set to nearing completion. Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) had signed an Agreement in Dec 2007 with ICTPL, a JV of Gammon India and Dragados of Spain, to execute the project on BOOT basis for setting up the 1.2 million TEU container terminal project. Some of the hurdle it faced in its execution particularly with regards to connectivity have now been ironed out and the terminal is proposed to get commissioned in October next – 2013.
Being a city port evacuation of container was the main hurdle MbPT faced. Containers have to traverse through the entire length of the island city to finally gain access of the highways or the national railway network. MbPT has managed to bypass all these impediments according to officials from the traffic department.
The railway lines in the city are already saturated by trains carrying passengers in various locals in super crushed condition with hardly any prospect for increasing the frequency of service. In order to move cargo by rail the railway authorities had with difficulty agreed to offer a four-hour window at Raoli near Wadala junction to move the cargo rakes in/out the city. But over the years despite the cargo traffic increasing there was no scope to enhance this window.
Now the concerned agencies including the Central Railways, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mbpt have come up with the solution of laying tracks on the land much of which belongs to MbPT - between Wadala and Kurla - which had all along posed a bottleneck. From there on the rakes carrying containers will connect the national railway network.
V. S. Kulkarni looking into the traffic woes in MbPT says “After Kurla the tracks will be diverted to join the railway network. Execution will be done by MMRDA and the Central Railway. MbPT proposes to finance the project and we have asked the Railways to take the matter forward since they are executing the project of laying the tracks. They have been asked to let us know the cost involved. The railways will have to make the arrangement to rehabilitate the affected people. A separate line will be laid between Wadala and Kurla which will serve as a rail corridor for cargo moving in and out of the port. This will bypass all the congested area. by next October as all the work will have got completed.”
Containers will also move by road to and from the port. “Another project underway is the elevated road corridor which is nearing completion and runs from Wadibunder in the vicinity of the port all the way to Chembur in the far suburbs. This will be made available to light vehicular traffic besides the port’s container traffic. From Chembur the traffic can find easy access to the national highways. Construction of the elevated corridor is being executed by MMRDA and this is due for commissioning before October next. The link road which runs on MbPT land from the city and connecting Wadala which is being also used by city traffic will get preference for container traffic.”
These two connectivity projects are expected to meet the demand for the container traffic that will be generated by the container terminal and also cater to the future expansion project envisaged.