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Kolkata, Nov. 12

The Paradip Port Trust (PPT) is set to augment its capacity to handle liquid cargo, particularly crude and petroleum products, and has accordingly sought the approval of the Shipping Ministry for construction on its own a second oil berth at an estimated cost of Rs 70 crore or so. “We’ve to step up our capacity to handle crude and petroleum products to meet the projected requirement of Indian Oil’s proposed 15-tpa Paradip refinery”, Mr K. Raghuramaiah, Chairman of PPT, told Business Line over phone from Paradip. “The existing facility is just not enough to meet the projected requirement”.

Handling clean cargoes

PPT, as the Chairman pointed out, was also planning to have constructed on BOT basis two more berths for handling clean cargoes and containers. The estimated total cost of the two berths is Rs 350 crore. “We’ve already invited expressions of interest from prospective bidders”, he said.

The proposed berths will be located inside a new dock to be constructed on the southern side of the turning circle and will be away from the existing berths handling bulk cargoes.

The port authorities, as it was pointed out, were also hopeful of getting shortly the Cabinet approvals for the two other berths, one each for handling coal imports and iron ore exports, through the the public-private partnership route. The total costs of these two berths — each of the capacity of 10 million tonnes — is estimated at Rs 900 crore.

However, the traffic situation right now is far from satisfactory, with exports of iron ore having dropped significantly. “Many of our berths are not being utilised fully for want of traffic”, Mr Raghuramaiah said. Cumulatively, however, the traffic throughput in first seven months of the current fiscal was up by around six per cent vis-À-vis the same period of last year.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 13, 2008)
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