|The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) plans to augment capacity at Haldia port by adding three new terminals at an estimated cost of ₹800 crore.|
A total of 9 million tonnes will be added to the existing handling capacity of 43 million tonnes at Haldia.
While one liquid-cargo terminal (2 million tonnes), primarily for edible oil, has been proposed at Salukhali, 15 km north of Haldia; two outer terminals — one for dry-bulk cargo (5 million tonnes) and another 2 million-tonne liquid-cargo terminal — have also been planned.
Work on all the three projects is expected to begin next fiscal once environmental clearances are received.
According to Vinit Kumar, Chairman, KoPT, all three terminals will be developed on the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
While around ₹200 crore will be spent towards developing the Salukhali terminal,the liquid-cargo terminal, called Outer Terminal-II, is expected to entail an outgo of ₹Rs 100 crore. The remaining ₹500 crore will be spent on setting up Outer Terminal-I.
“Haldia is a riverine port, and by having these projects on the outskirts, larger vessels can be accommodated. We will also gain with the better draft at these terminals,” he said.
As against a 7-metre draft at Haldia, the proposed Salukhali terminal, for example, will have at least a 9-metre draft.
The Haldia Dock Complex handled around 19.124 million tonnes of cargo between April and September this year, a near-18 per cent rise over the 16.242 million tonnes it handled in the year-ago period.
These projects apart, KoPT will also be investing ₹100 crore for laying a second rail line from Durgachak to Haldia. This will help speed up cargo loading. The South-Eastern Railway is the implementing agency for the project, Kumar said.
The ₹50-crore project to augment track capacity is underway at the container-handling facility at the Netaji Subhash dock. Kumar said this will help reduce the time taken between unloading containers from a vessel and loading them for the onward journey to the rake, from the prevailing seven days, to 4.5 days.
The initiative might help the Kolkata port regain the confidence of Nepalese importers who are now testing more efficient cargo-handling practices at the Visakhapatnam port.
Kumar, however, pointed out that delay on the part of CONCOR (Container Corporation of India) in supplying rakes is also a reason behind the slow movement of Nepal-bound cargo from the port. “Cargo loading for Nepal has stopped for the last two days due to unavailability of rakes from CONCOR,” he said.
The port is also investing in parking lots and expanding the container storage capacity to improve the loading rate. Currently, restrictions on truck movement imposed by the Kolkata police are affecting loading.
Kumar is also exploring the possibility of investing in a Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) jetty and taking the help of the Inland Waterways Authority in ensuring movement of containers in and out of the city, avoiding the city roads.