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i-maritime news letter

Paradip port looks to attract more container cargo - 2011-12-26

Worried over the sharp drop in iron ore traffic (and with little prospect of the situation turning for the better soon), the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) is tapping other commodities to boost its total traffic throughput. ―We're open to handling any commodity and in return we might consider offering additional facilities should the trade ask for‖, Mr G.J. Rao, Chairman of PPT, told Business Line. Till November, the port's total traffic throughput increased by a meagre one per cent over the same period last year while the iron ore throughput posted a negative growth.

―Till November, we handled 2.3 million tonnes (mt) of iron ore for exports against 5.9 mt in the same period last year‖, Mr Rao said adding ―The drop thus was close to three mt and we're yet to handle a single iron ore rake in December.‖ Traditionally coal, both imports and costal shipments, has been a major item of traffic of the port. ―We would like to handle more coal ships and to be able to handle large panamax vessels with full load (75,000 tonnes), we're dredging the waterfront of the berth CQ1 and hopefully the targeted draft of 14 metre as against the present 12.5 metre will be achieved by the end of January or early February‖, Mr Rao said. Mercator Group which has been entrusted with the job will dredge about 1.8 million cubic metres at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore, it is learnt. But then, as the Chairman conceded, much would depend on the present coal importres such as steel plants and power houses. ―Our marketing team is trying hard to attract more consumers of imported coal to the port but the problem is that the competition is becoming intense every day‖, he said and drew attention to the formidable competition from a private port virtually next door. Containerised traffic is also receiving a good deal of attention. Last year, the port handled 6,000 TEUs, mostly exports such as aluminium ingots, ferro chrome and the like. There was hardly any import in containers with the result the lines had to reposition the empties at a cost. ―We're in touch with various container operators to explore the possibility of launching regular services from the port but two-way cargo support is critical for the viability of container services‖, he observed.

Source: Hindu Business Line