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NEW DELHI: In a big boost to the port and shipping sector, government is set to launch two mega projects entailing more than Rs 83,000 crore investment in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra before the announcement of poll dates. While the project in Tamil Nadu will add more capacity to the Chidambaranar port, the Vadhavan port in Maharashtra will be the first major (central govt) port to be developed after more than two decades.
Sources said PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the Outer Harbour project of Chidambaranar Port on Wednesday at a cost of Rs 7,056 crore. TOI has learnt that the Cabinet chaired by Modi approved the project to develop four berths that will add 4 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) capacity to the port and create capability to service mega container vessels. The project is essential to cater to the growing demand for gateway and transshipment cargo.
TEU is a general unit of cargo capacity, often used for container ships and container ports.
The Cabinet is also likely to give go ahead for Rs 76,000 crore Vadhavan Port project in the next two weeks before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) kicks in. The mega port, which will come up in Palghar district, will have nine container terminals with 18 berths and will have a combined container handling capacity of 23.5 million TEUs. The port will be developed in two phases by 2030. The total cargo traffic of the port is expected to be over 300 million tonnes per annum.
The port has a natural draft (depth) of about 20 metres close to the shore, which will be enough for handling bigger container vessels of 16,000-25,000 TEUs capacity, giving advantages of economies of scale and reducing logistics cost.
The world’s largest container handling modern deep draft ports require a draft of 18-20 metres. JNPT and Mundra, the two largest container handling ports of the country, have drafts of 15-16 metres, respectively.

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