"We are in the process of finalising a new land policy for major ports that would allow them to allot spare land to parties for carrying out economic activity on current market rates. The new policy will be announced this month," Shipping Secretary K Mohandas told PTI.
"With the new policy, not only our major ports can put their spare land to commercial use through auction at current market prices, but at the same time, (they can) re-allot the land on new terms to users on expiry of the lease period to get more revenues for development," he said.
Ports have huge tracts of land lying with them, he said, adding that the quantum of unutilised land varies from port to port.
Sources said that 13 major ports administered by the Centre -- Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tuticorin and Port Blair -- together have about 2,25,000 acres of land.
"Land with the ports vary and the Kandla port in Gujarat possesses about 1,80,000 acres alone, given its strategic location and control of Gandhidham Township, whereas Chennai port controls only 300 acres of land," a source said.
Every major port shall have a land use plan covering the entire land owned or managed by it and land can be allotted for economic activities either on a licence or lease basis, he added.
The new policy was felt necessary to sustain and improve the efficiency of major ports, as it is an established practice globally for ports to allot land for carrying out economic activity, while port lands have also been used to set up special economic zones.
The new policy sets out the terms to be followed by the port trusts for allotment of port land and is applicable to all major port trusts, except for land relating to the Gandhidham township of the Kandla Port Trust.
Around 95 per cent of the country's exports by volume and 70 per cent by value are transported by sea and the major ports account for 75 per cent of the total cargo by volume handled at Indian ports.