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i-maritime News Service

Hit by falling traffic and delayed projects - 2013-07-04

Whither Kolkata port? The question now assails a cross-section in the country’s port, shipping and trade circles. Not without reasons though. On the one hand, the port’s traffic has been declining and on the other, its proposals for several new cargo handling projects have come unstuck.Between 2007-08 and 2012-13, the total volume of cargo handled by Kolkata port (including Haldia one of the two dock complexes of Kolkata port) dropped from more than 57 million tonnes (mt) to less than 40 mt. Much of it should be attributed to Haldia which handled just 28 mt in last fiscal as compared to 43.6 mt five years ago. During the same period, the volume handled by Kolkata Dock System (excluding Haldia) declined from 13.74 mt to 11.89 mt.

The flight of crude traffic to Paradip (thanks to laying of Paradip-Haldia crude pipeline by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)) dealt a heavy blow to Haldia. At one time, Haldia, together with ship-to-ship crude discharge at Sandheads, the mouth of river Hooghly, used to handle more than 15 mt of crude annually, now it reduced to 0.5 mt. The large crude carriers with full load now call at Paradip for discharge and thus avoid huge dead-freighting earlier experienced at Haldia.

The throughputs of dry bulk items like iron ore and coal too do not present different pictures. The volume of iron ore dropped from nearly 10 mt to 1.7 mt in the last five years. Thermal coal fell by 50 per cent to 2 mt in the last ten years and coking coal by more than 25 per cent to 4.5 mt in the last two years.

Source: Hindu Business Line