Port Wings News Bureau:
After a failed first attempt in bringing in containerized cargo handling facility about two years ago at the port, Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL), erstwhile Ennore Port Limited, is treading cautiously now and takes well-measured steps to put everything, like better road and rail connectivity, in place before the commencement of container operations.
“Yes, we are taking systematic steps to put everything in place for smooth commencement of container operations in KPL, which is expected to begin in June 2016,” said Mr M.A. Bhaskarachar, Chairman cum Managing Director, Kamarajar Port Ltd, a Miniratna Category-I Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India under the Ministry of Shipping.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Bhaskarachar explained about the steps being taken by the port management to create additional infrastructural facilities at the port to woo more businesses to the country’s only Corporate Major Port under the Union government.
Excerpts of the interview…
Q. Tell us about the background of Kamarajar Port?
Mr M A Bhaskarachar: Kamarajar (Ennore) Port was developed from a green field situation in the East Coast of India at a distance of about 20 km to the north of Chennai port. The port was declared as a Major Port in March 1999 and incorporated as a company (Ennore Port Limited) in October, 1999. The Port was commissioned in June, 2001 with two dedicated coal berths with 15m alongside draft and since then handles thermal coal for the power stations of TANGEDCO (formerly TNEB). The Port has since then developed terminals through private sector participation to handle liquids, coal, iron ore and cars. In February 2014, the port was renamed as Kamarajar Port Limited.
Q. Tell us about the status of proposed container terminal at Kamarajar Port?
MAB: During August 2014, KPL would hand over the award of concession to Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (APSEZ), roped in by KPL for container terminal project after having satisfied with fulfillment of condition precedents by both parties. After selecting Adani Port’s bid for the terminal, in March 2014, the KPL management signed a concession agreement with them to develop a state-of-the-art container terminal at an estimated cost of Rs 1,270 crore.
For smooth execution of the project, the company has floated a special purpose vehicle named Adani Ennore Container Terminal Pvt Ltd. Adani will have the flexibility to build the 730m berth in stages, starting with a berth-length of 400m in 27 months that can handle eight lakh TEUs a year costing Rs.750 crore and scaling it up to 730m to load 14 lakh TEUs over a period of 75 months.
Given the importance of having a container handling facility (besides other cargoes like coal, cars and petroleum) for sustained revenue in the longer run, the port management seriously pursued the bidding process and finally clinched a deal with Adani Port, who offered a revenue share of 37 per cent.
Once the terminal starts functioning, KPL would become a full-fledged port serving all the verticals of EXIM trade.
Q. Tell us about the other infrastructure ongoing projects in KPL to meet emerging challenges?
MAB: On the dredging front, we have Rs 220 crore project to accommodate larger vessels at Container and Multicargo Terminals. As of now, we are in the stage of floating tender for appointing Project Management Consultant and KPL is hopeful to award the dredging contract by December this year.
Likewise, in improving internal roads inside the port, we have chalked out a Rs 55 crore project, which is also in the final stages of being awarded to a successful bidder. Improvement of internal roads would not only help the seamless movement of container trailers in future, but also help heavy vehicles carrying RORO cargo into the port.
Besides, another project to improve rail connectivity for both Container as well as Multi cargo terminals is also under Tendering stage.
Once all the projects in dredging, rail connectivity and road connectivity in place, KPL can compete with any ports in the East Coast and I am hopeful that we could set new benchmarks in handling different cargoes, from cars to containers.
Q. What are the future plans KPL has to develop the port?
MAB: Though the Ennore Port was primarily developed to handle coal, we have developed gradually from that level and now handle liquid and project cargoes besides car exports.
In the last financial year (2013-14), we achieved more than 50 per cent growth by handling 27.34 million tonnes cargo as against 17.89 million tonnes handled in the previous year. There is no manual handling and it is completely mechanized.
To meet the exim traffic of bulk and project cargos like turbine & generators, windmill etc., and imports of wooden logs, we have planned to develop a terminal on DBFOT basis. The length of the proposed terminal is 270m with an estimated capacity of 2.00 MTPA at an estimated project cost of Rs.151 Crores. The construction work is expected to commence from October 2014.
Considering the expansion of the existing thermal power plants of TNEB and new TNEB - NTPC JV project, TNEB had requested EPL to establish additional coal berths. KPL has awarded the contract for construction of Coal Berth-3 with a capacity of 9 MTPA at a contract value of Rs.198.95 crores in December 2013. The construction work will commence shortly and the scheduled commencement of operations will be from second quarter of 2016. The capacity of existing berths is being enhanced by upgrading mechanization and deepening of the berths.