New Technology Centre at IIT Madras to modernize India’s ports and fast track waterways

New Technology Centre at IIT Madras to modernize India’s ports and fast track waterways 

-Navneet Kumar Gupta 

Indian Institute of Technology Madras is establishing a National Centre that will work to modernize India’s ports and fast track waterways. The National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) will be a strategic and innovation-oriented initiative tasked with bringing cutting-edge Technology to India's Ports, waterways and Maritime Sector.

New Technology Centre at IIT Madras to modernize India’s ports and fast track waterways
NTCPWC will be a centre for technological innovations and will function as the Technology Arm of Union Ministry of Shipping Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Honourable Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, laid the Foundation Stone on 26th February 2018 for NTCPWC, which is being supported by Sagarmala Project, Government of India Shri Kailash K Aggarwal, Joint Secretary (Sagarmala), exchanged the MoA with Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari said, “Port sector is important for the development of our country. It is an emerging sector, creating lot of jobs and giving a push to our economy. We are now planning for port-led development, which will include Special Economic Zones, port-led clusters, industrial clusters and so on. We had engaged IIT Madras as a consultant for a project at Haldiya Port and it saved us Rs 250 crore annually. IIT Madras is dedicated to cutting-edge research and technology development and I am confident that it can give us new ideas and vision.”
“We are financially supporting the NTCPWC with Rs. 70 crore at an initial level but it will be self-sustaining in three years,” added Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari. Further, Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari informed, “We are working with lot of new technologies nowadays. We are planning to use methanol as a fuel for all our maritime transport, which is highly cost effective and less polluting in comparison to Diesel.”

Sagarmala is a strategic and customer-oriented initiative to modernize India’s ports so that port-led development can be augmented and coastlines can be developed to contribute to India's growth.

Being built with a Capex of Rs. 44.79 cr and Opex of Rs 25.74 cr, the NTCPWC will create capital equipment, capable manpower and build competencies to work on Ten major projects for the first three years. Its’ thrust areas would be Technology Development, Modelling and Software Products, Bridge Simulator and Testing Facilities.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi said “It is a day of great privilege and honour for us to have the Honourable Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari to come and launch NTCPWC. IIT Madras besides being at the forefront of research and technology development, also prides in the fact that all our departments are involved in transformational research and activities. This new Centre under the aegis of the Department of Ocean Engineering is one such example. It will be set-up at the satellite campus of IIT Madras at Thaiyur.”

The NTCPWC is poised to have a wide-ranging Impact on India’s Maritime sector as given below:

Ø One stop point for major and non-major ports, other Indian and global institution for applied research Ø Indigenous software, technology and patent development from projects are being funded Ø Reduction in safety related incidents through applied research will be done by NTCPWC Ø Improvement in the global ranking of IIT Madras in Port and Maritime sector Ø State-of-the-art large-scale laboratory testing facility for the maritime sector

The Nodal Officers for the NTCPWC will be Prof. V. Sundar and Prof. K. Murali, both from Ocean Engineering Department, IIT Madras. The NTCPWC will work as the Technology Arm of Ministry of Shipping providing the needful technological support to ports, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and other institutions. It will focus on technological innovations and evolution of new ideas and breakthroughs for the port, waterways and maritime sector and provide effective solutions to an extensive range of problems being faced in the industry through scientific support and carry out education, applied research and technology transfer.

The inception of NTCPWC is an answer to a key need and signifies a major leap in indigenous and cutting-edge technology support in the Port and Maritime sector.

Objectives of the formation of NTCPWC are:
1. To empower ‘Make in India’ for Port, Coastal and Inland water transport and engineering by developing 
2. Creating state-of-the-art technologies and application products. 
3. To enable fast-track innovations in order to provide most appropriate solutions to various challenges. 
4. To create a pool of competent manpower equipped with state-of-the-art theoretical and practical knowhow. 
5. Attain self-sufficiency in providing short and long term solutions through scientific studies, Technology development, and Technical arm in identifying complex problems and solving issues.
Navneet Kumar Gupta is a science communicator working as a Project Officer (Edusat) in Vigyan Prasar-National institute of Science communication under the Department. of Science & Technology. Govt. Of India. He has deep interest in popular science writing for general public through Print and electronic media. Besides his twelve books, he has written more than 200 popular science articles. He has edited/authored/co-authored more than 10 books. He have been awarded six National Awards including Rajbhasha Award, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India He has had a long stint as Associate Editor, VIPNET news - a popular science magazine. You may contact him at -