Kahlon: Ushering change
Calcutta, Sept. 23: The Calcutta Port Trust today gave a contract to a consortium of city-based Concast Group and Hyundai Engineering of Korea to build a port near Haldia.
The new facility, coming up at 10 kilometres north of the Haldia port, will be operational in 30 months.
“This is indeed good news for us on two counts. Firstly, the investors’ confidence on Haldia port will be restored. Secondly, possible flight of cargo from Bengal to ports of neighbouring states will be arrested,” R.P.S. Kahlon, chairman of the CPT, said.
The new port at Salukhali will primarily handle bulk cargo such as coal and iron ore.
CPT officials claim the draft in the new facility will be around 9.5 metres, allowing bigger vessels to call on here than at Haldia.
This project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016-17. Apart from creating a facility with a deep draft and additional capacity to handle incremental cargo, the project will enable the CPT to avoid the constraints of lock gate at Haldia.
There will be two berths — one multipurpose and one mechanised — with an annual capacity of 11.7 million tonnes. Investment will be around Rs 1,200 crore.
The decision to award the project on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model for 30 years was taken this afternoon at a meeting of the board of trustees of the CPT, the apex body of India’s oldest port.
Sources said the consortium would share 6.8 per cent of its revenue with the CPT. Kahlon admitted that the port got a good financial deal.
“Anything above 4.9 per cent is good for us,” he said. Moreover, the CPT will also earn rent for the land where the port will come up.
Sanjay Surekha, chairman and managing director of Concast, said he was worried at the development relating to exit of mechanised handler ABG last year, but later decided to fight out.
“I am born and brought up here. I decided to take the risk. Concast has an excellent partner in Hyundai who has built at least 50 ports across the globe. They will build and also operate it,” Surekha said. Hyundai will hold a 26 per cent stake in the project leaving the rest to the Concast group.