New Delhi: Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday urged investors to invest in development of ports in Odisha, whose coastline, he said, will be the "hub of maritime trade".

Pradhan, who is also the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, was speaking at a session on 'Investment Opportunities in Odisha' at the ongoing Maritime India Summit 2021.

The event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Speaking on the ports sector at the event on Tuesday, the prime minister had announced that India will invest USD 82 billion in port projects by 2035.

In his address, Pradhan said, "Odisha's coastline is going to be the hub of maritime trade. Anchor industries and companies are needed for development and operations of new ports in Odisha and optimal utilization of riverine and sea port area," a statement issued by the Ministry of Steel said.

While inviting the potential investors to take advantage of business opportunities in the state, he said Odisha will also be the gateway of global maritime network of trade and commerce.

Noting that Odisha has natural harbours, rich natural resources, long coastline and skill-able and hardworking manpower, he said the state is uniquely poised to be the part of India's AatmaNirbhar journey and contribute to the country's target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy .

Odisha also has a rich maritime history and thousands of years ago navigators of the state used to sail to different parts of the globe, he said.

The minister further said, "Paradip is going to be the gateway of growth of eastern part of the country. Kalinganagar is being developed as a steel hub, envisages to become a self-contained ecosystem, and will enable the potential investors for setting up value added downstream facilities."

The government-led initiatives in the petroleum and steel sectors will provide impetus to the maritime economy in Odisha. Integration of crucial infrastructure like road, rail and port will lead to the industrial development of the state. Potential for port-led blue economy will be unlocked with the multi-modal rail, road and air linkages with sea and riverine ports for transport of minerals and goods at much lower logistics cost, he said.