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Paradip terminal work to begin

Paradip, Dec. 3: A Rs 520-crore iron ore terminal project, the first public private partnership here, is all set to start at Paradip port.

The project, a berth terminal, with a capacity to handle 20 million tonnes of iron ore per annum, is scheduled to be commissioned in a few weeks. Essar Ports, a subsidiary of the Essar group, is building the berth.

The port authorities felt the need for a deep draught iron ore berth to meet expeditious handling of ores. Accordingly, an agreement was signed between the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) and the private bidder on July 1, 2009. However, the project failed to move an inch because of no clearance from the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) for over two years.

The spot for the terminal project, although with the port authorities, fell under the coastal regulation zone territory. “The civil and engineering work of the project is complete. We are waiting for an official go-ahead to formally commission the terminal. The formal commission is expected next month,” said an official of the Essar company.

The company has also bagged the contract to develop the 14 million per annum capacity coal berth terminal at Paradip port.

The forest clearance has been given to the project, deputy chairman of Paradip Port Trust S. Ananth Kumar Bose said.

The iron ore berth contract involves Essar ports building a mechanised berth 30 metres in length, which will be one of the most advanced port facilities in the country. The coal terminal is a part of Paradip port’s plan towards mechanisation of imports of this fuel, Bose said.

PPT officials said ships were lying stranded for days at the port anchorage, as there was continuous cargo handling operation in the existing 14 berths.

“The port has envisaged ambitious expansion plans to augment the capacity to 250 metric tonnes with 28 berths by 2020. The estimated investment could be around Rs 10,000 crore. After its completion, the Paradip port would be one of the country’s top ports,” Bose said.