The Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Group proposes to build India's largest port "Rewas" as part of its Navi Mumbai SEZ, which would have same draft as of Suez Canal and virtually double that of the deepest JNPT port in the country.
The group plans to invest more than Rs 3,000 crore in developing the port, which is located about 10 nautical miles or 16 km south east of Mumbai harbour, and awaits environmental clearances to launch construction.
"We are in the process of planning and seeking environmental clearance from the central government for Rewas, which we hope to get by the end of the year," a company source said.
A Reliance industry spokesperson, however, declined to comment on the issue.
With a draft (depth of the sea) of 20 metres, the Rewas port has proved to be a clincher for Reliance Group, which is developing two mega special economic zones (SEZs) across 35,000 acres in Navi Mumbai and expect a steady flow of cargo.
The draft (which can be increased to 22-23 metres) will ensure that large ships, possibly even supertankers, to berth in Mumbai. On the other hand, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) has a draft of 12.5 m and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) has a draft of 9.5 mt making Rewas the biggest port in the country.
Notably, the Suez Canal authorities too are currently engaged in increasing its depth, so that vessels with a greater draft such as supertankers can go through. Dredgers are deepening the waterway from 20m (66ft) to 23m (72ft).