Kolkata port open to making transloading at Kanika Sands a common user facility

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on March 12, 2018

A ship carrying containers is entering the Kolkata Port through river Hooghly. (file photo): Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury   -  Business Line

The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) is open to the idea of making the proposed transloading operation at Kanika Sands off Orissa coast a common user facility.

“Let anybody come and operate at Kanika Sands and let the trade decide who is the most efficient operator”, said a spokesman for KoPT. “We'll welcome Dhamra port or any other port to come and operate there and let the trade choose the most cost-effective operation”.

The Section 5 of the Indian Ports Act allowed such joint operation in any port, he said, expressing the view that a port such as Dhamra being promoted by two private sector giants must be ahead of others in terms of efficiency and, therefore, should not feel threatened.

It might be noted that the Shipping Ministry's decision extending the limit of the Kolkata port covering Kanika Sands is being opposed tooth and nail by the Orissa Government, which feels that it will hit the Dhamra port, which is being set up Tata Steel and L&T, and a few other private ports being planned in the area.

The spokesman said the Orissa Government's argument was untenable because its notification defining the limit of the proposed Bahabalpur port, a non-major port in the State, interfered with the jurisdiction of the Kolkata port.

The same was true about the proposed non-major ports being planned in the north (Bichitrapur) and south (Kirtania) of the Subarnarekha river.

“But KoPT never raises any objection”, he said. “The transloading at Kanika Sands is being proposed in national interest, not to benefit any particular private business house”.

Explaining the scope of the proposed operation, which pre-supposed handling of huge bulkers with full-load at the Kainka Sands, the spokesman pointed out the country would stand to benefit by way of saving of Rs 400-500 crore annually now being paid in foreign exchange to the foreign shipping companies because of the long time taken for the present multiple handling involving the Kolkata port and a few other ports.

It was not without reason that the Shipping Ministry extended the limit of the Kolkata port to allow the port authorities to undertake transloading at the Kanika Sands.

“It is the decision of the Union Government in national interest, not of the Kolkata Port Trust”, he added referring to the public interest litigation filed in the Orissa High Court by an NGO with the support of the Orissa Government.

Published on March 08, 2011

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