Paradip, Feb. 2: Paradip port has managed to keep intact its annual cargo-handling turnover.
Though a number of constraints and bottlenecks posed hindrances, Odisha’s lone major port has handled 45 million tonnes cargo by December end, which is more than what was achieved during the corresponding period last year.
During the last financial year (2011-12), the port had handled 54.2 million tonnes cargo. This year, the Union shipping ministry has set a target of 63 million tonnes for the port. But officials are optimistic that the port will exceed last year’s cargo handling.
“The port has already handled 45 million tonnes cargo in the current financial year in spite of slump in iron ore export. It has handled one million tonnes more cargo than the quantity handled during the corresponding period last year. To overcome the decrease in iron ore traffic, the port has planned to diversify its cargo profile to ensure growth. It is taking up new projects as well as concentrating on new cargo for traffic growth. Cargo handling in fertiliser and crude oil has been encouraging this year,” said Paradip Port Trust chairman Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra.
There was a downward trend in iron ore traffic while a rise in coal, fertiliser and crude oil traffic. Paradip port has drawn up measures to become cost effective and improve efficiency by installing high-capacity cargo-handling equipment. It will increase depth of its harbour to handle 250 million tonnes of cargo by 2020, he said.
The port has envisaged expansion plans to augment the capacity to 250 million tonnes with 28 berths by 2020. The estimated investment could be around Rs 10,000 crore.
Non-availability of land required for port expansion, poor rail connectivity and recurring lawlessness in and around the township have created hurdles for the port authorities. “Paradip port is on the path to expansion. It would uplift Odisha economically. The port’s growth would give fillip to shore-based industries in Odisha,” said Mishra.