Union Minister for Shipping and Ports G.K. Vasan has urged marine engineers to find “innovative ways and means to develop structures which can meet the challenges of ever-changing size of the ships in the global scenario.”

Inaugurating the five-day eighth Permanent International Association for Navigational Congress conference on ‘Coastal and port engineering in developing countries' here on Sunday, he observed that its theme —‘Meeting the challenges of coastal environment' —was very meaningful in the present scenario of port development which required rapid capacity augmentation with cost-effective designs and environment-friendly solutions for sustainable development.

He said that the major ports in the recent past had exhibited a very strong change in management capabilities and had made significant strides in modernisation and capacity augmentation. Port capacity development was possible mainly due to the various policy initiatives by the government for increasing the pace of attracting investments.

“Similarly, the maritime states also had come up with several policy initiatives for development of the non-major ports. Thus, the major ports and non-major ports have assumed complementary roles, besides creating healthy competition which in turn enables the sector to provide cost effective and quality service to the customers,” he said.

He pointed out that his Ministry had come out with a vision document for a period of 10 years for the development of ports and shipping sector.

Accordingly, the anticipated traffic at Indian ports would grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 11 per cent from the present 850 million tonnes to about 2,500 million tonnes by 2019-20.

In addition to capacity augmentation, all the major ports were aiming at bringing in structural changes in the administration of the ports to improve organisational effectiveness, he remarked.

The ports were aiming at progressive use of information technology to cover the entire gamut of operations.

“Indian ports are marching forward on a confident note and gearing themselves to meet the anticipated demand from the trade in the years to come,” Mr. Vasan asserted.