Kolkata port starts trans-loading operations at Konica sandheads

Kolkata. Aug 29 | Updated on November 17, 2017


Armed with the Centre's approval in October 2010 to extend the operational limits in the Bay of Bengal, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) had commenced pilot trans-loading operations at Konica Sandheads - now renamed as Western Sandheads – approximately 70 km from the confluence of Hooghly, on the high-sea. Trans-loading is technical term for shifting the cargo mid-sea into smaller vessels or barges for due evacuation through ports.

Capesize cargoes

While commercial operations are expected to be launched in September, the KoPT Chairman, Mr M.L. Meena, was hopeful to handle large capesize coal cargoes by September-October 2012, ensuring a major volume and revenue boost to the country's only riverine major port.

Taking a lead from the KoPT's move, NTPC has already awarded a tender to Jindal ITF for transfer of coal from the high seas to its power plant at Farakka through inland waterways.

Currently in the East coast, only Gangavaram port in Andhra Pradesh handles capesize cargoes.

“We started operations around two months back by trans-loading a ship handling 15,000 tonnes of peas. Other operators have also been asked to operate in the area by using cranes, till the proposed terminal comes up,” Mr Meena said.

According to him, the West Bengal Government had already appreciated the port's initiatives.

Orissa stand

The Orissa Government has already challenged the Centre's decision on the ground that the extension of the KoPT's operational area would impact the viability of seven proposed minor ports - including the upcoming Dhamra port – approved by the State Government.

Two cases were also filed in this regard in the High Courts of Calcutta and Orissa.

Shifting operations

“As per our plan of action, we will use Western Sandheads as a shelter zone for trans-loading for five months in the dry season. For the rest seven months, when (transloading ) operations will be shifted to Sandheads,” he said.

Located closer to the Haldia Dock complex, Sandheads was within the KoPT operation even before the extension of the coverage area.

“From September, we will have necessary infrastructure in place from trans-laoding from smaller ships. We are expecting to handle capsize vessels by September-October, 2012,” Mr Meena said.

Published on August 29, 2011

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