New Mangalore Port sees iron ore exports rising

A. J. Vinayak | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 26, 2011

Mr P. Tamilvanan, Chairman, New Mangalore Port Trust.

Dispatches 1.5 lakh tonnes in March after lifting of ban

Iron ore has played a major role in the overall traffic scenario of New Mangalore Port over the years. From 2004-05 till 2008-09, iron ore fines contributed more than 16 per cent to the total traffic of the port. In 2008-09, the share of iron ore to the total traffic went up to more than 22 per cent. In 2009-10, the share came down to nearly 15 per cent of the total traffic. The port faced a major blow in 2010-11 when the Karnataka Government banned the mining and export of iron ore fines in the State. However, the Supreme Court recently revoked that ban, bringing a sigh of relief to ore exporters.

In an interview to Business Line, Mr P. Tamilvanan, Chairman, New Mangalore Port Trust, spoke on the iron traffic scenario. Excerpts:

How is the iron ore cargo movement, after the Supreme Court lifted ban on its export?

Following the court verdict, around 1.5 lakh tonnes of iron ore fines, which were lying at the port, were exported in March.

We allowed the State authorities, including the Forest Department and the Department of Mines and Geology, to come and check the stock whenever they needed. See, we are always for the best system.

How do you foresee the scenario?

As far as iron ore cargo is concerned, we are optimistic with all the facilities we have. We expect the cargo volume to go up.

What impact did the ban have on the port?

For the first time, the overall traffic volume at the port came down from 35 million tonnes to 31.5 million tonnes in 2010-11. The volume of iron ore fines came down from 5.4 million tonnes in 2009-10 to 0.9 million tonnes in 2010-11. This was a big blow to the port. The deployment of labour also came down considerably.

How was the situation prior to the ban?

In 2002-03, the port did not have iron ore fines handling by private players. Only KIOCL Ltd was handling iron ore pellets then at its captive berth. Suddenly, the port started receiving the iron ore fines cargo in a big way. In 2003-04, we handled 1.6 million tonnes of iron ore fines. Then iron ore started coming and started establishing. Without any facility the traffic of iron ore fines was going on in NMPT.

Did you feel the need for additional infrastructure then?

Earlier vessels of 35,000 tonnes parcel size were coming to the port. Then we thought we should have a bigger berth, and started construction of berth no. 14 with a length of 350 metres and draught of 14 metres. This enabled us to handle parcel size of more than 75,000 tonnes vessels.

We did not stop with that. We went on an open tender and deployed 104-tonne capacity mobile crane. Then gearless vessels started coming to the port.

All these factors helped us handle more cargo. At one point of time, in 2008-09, we handled 8.1 million tonnes of iron ore fines.

What role did KIOCL play?

KIOCL is one of the major users of the port. They (the company) have a captive berth and loading arm to handle iron ore pellets. In 1999-2000, the company handled 6.1 million tonnes of iron ore pellets.

But in 2006-07, it came down to 6 lakh tonnes as it had to close down mining operation at Kudremukh.

Following this, the port allotted 11 acres of land to KIOCL Ltd to put railway lines inside the marshalling yard. In 2010-11, the port handled 2.1 million tonnes of iron ore pellets cargo belonging to KIOCL Ltd. At one point of time, KIOCL had a problem. This had affected the handling of iron ore pellets.

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Published on May 26, 2011
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