Indian government greenlights Vadhavan mega port project


The Indian government has approved the US$ 9.15 billion Vadhavan Port project, which has attracted interest from terminal operators including DP World, PSA, CMA CGM and APMT.

The Indian government has approved the establishment of a major port at Vadhavan, near Dahanu in Maharashtra, some 150 km from Mumbai and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the country’s largest container port.

The project, which recently gained environmental approval from the Maharashtra state, will be executed by Vadhavan Port Project Limited (VPPL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed through a partnership between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) and the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), with respective shareholdings of 74% and 26%.

The Vadhavan Port is envisaged as an all-weather, greenfield deep draft major port with a total value of Rs. 76,220 crore (approximately US$9.15 billion).

According to the Union Cabinet, the proposed port will feature extensive infrastructure, including nine container terminals, each 1,000 metres long, four multipurpose berths, four liquid cargo berths, a Ro-Ro berth, and a dedicated Coast Guard berth.

The project also involves the reclamation of 1,448 hectares of sea area and the construction of a 10.14 km offshore breakwater and container/cargo storage areas. These facilities will collectively create a capacity of 298 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum, including approximately 23.2 million TEU of container handling capacity.

Developed as a long-term alternative to JNP port, Vadhavan has a natural draft of 20 metres, which will open up the South Asian market to ultra-large container vessels of 24,000 TEU and above.

The project is envisaged as a public-private partnership, with state funding of US$5 billion for the core infrastructure, while private sector investors are expected to invest the remaining US$4 billion to develop container, multi-purpose, Ro-Ro, and liquid bulk facilities.

The proposed Vadhavan port is a top-priority project for the government and has been in development for over 10 years. Once completed, the port is set to become one of the 10 largest ports globally and act as a green fuel hub, according to the Indian government.

The port is expected to greatly benefit from its close proximity to the National Highway road network and the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) rail network. The Cabinet has also approved the development of road links between the port and national highways.

Furthermore, the development of Vadhavan Port is expected to significantly boost the EXIM (Export-Import) trade flow through the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), potentially generating direct and indirect employment opportunities for around 1.2 million individuals.

The port development has already attracted interest from major terminal developers, including DP World, PSA, APM Terminals, and CMA CGM.

In 2023, DP World signed a deal with JNPA to explore trade opportunities that can be unlocked by developing Vadhavan Port. In January 2024, APM Terminals signed an MoU with JNPA announcing cooperation for the development of a new container terminal at the proposed mega port. APM Terminals currently operates two important infrastructures in India located at Pipavav and Nhava Sheva.

Most recently, in early June, JNPA announced two MoUs worth Rs 40,000 crore with PSA (India) and CMA CGM for the Vadhavan Port project.

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