Dubai’s DP World, a global provider of supply chain solutions, on Tuesday announced the launch of operations at Integrated Chennai Business Park, the company’s free trade warehouse zone (FTWZ) at Manali, about 30 km north of Chennai.

The Chennai facility is the company’s second FTWZ in India after the one in Mumbai, which is 18 months old, said Ranjit Ray, Vice President — Economic Zones, Middle East, North Africa, and Subcontinent. The third, inside the Kochi Port container terminal, which is operated by DP World, will be ready soon, he told mediapersons at the facility in Manali.

Ray said that before Covid the company had announced an investment of about ₹1,700 crore to build three FTWZs in India in phases. Nearly 45 per cent of the capex has been spent, he said. Once the facilities are fully ready in 3-4 years, about 4 million sq ft of warehouse space would be available, he said.

The unit in Chennai is the largest of the three, at 125 acres and 2 million sq ft of warehouse space; in Mumbai it is 85 acres (also 2 million sq ft) and in Kochi 10 acres (0.2 million sq ft), he said.

The Chennai facility is located within a 40-km radius of key ports including Kattupalli (~15 km), Ennore (~11 km), and Chennai (~27 km). The current occupancy is around 10 per cent, and would increase to around 70 per cent by the fiscal end, he said. Tamil Nadu is one of the best states to have the FTWZ, he added.

Value-added services like packing and labelling can be done at the facility, he said.

The four warehouses at the Chennai facility can collectively accommodate 17,000 pallet positions, enabling the handling of specialised and uneven shaped cargo. The warehouses are temperature-controlled for cargo storage at 2 degrees Celsius, he said.