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Adani-owned Dhamra port to start container operations in three months


Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL), a fully owned subsidiary of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), is gearing up to start container business operations in the next two to three months.
"We intend to start container operations at the port in the next two to three months. Initially, the container operations will take off in a small way. The larger plan is to build a full-fledged container terminal," said a source at DPCL.

Dhamra port's move to start container operations will see it competing with the two major ports on the eastern coast- Kolkata and Paradip. Paradip port lacks facilities for container operations but is actively pursuing its plans to set up a container terminal estimated to cost about Rs 500 crore. A container berth is expected to be commissioned shortly. Apart from containers, it would also handle clean cargo like breakbulk steel and fertilisers.

Paradip Port Trust (PPT) has already inked a concession agreement in March last year with Paradip International Cargo Terminal Pvt Ltd (PICT). It is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by United Liner Agencies India Pvt Ltd which is a part of J M Baxi Group for construction/development of a multipurpose berth through public-private partnership (PPP) mode on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis in order to cater to the container traffic and clean cargo at Paradip port.

The major port at Kolkata has already been handling container operations but is hamstrung by draft limitations. With a draft of 14.5 metres, bigger container ships cannot call on the Kolkata port. But, Dhamra being a deep draft port (17.5 metres) has the potential to grab a bigger share of the container traffic. Also, it can potentially cut down on the transit time for container shipments headed for Europe by up to 20 days thereby offsetting the transportation costs from Kolkata or Siliguri.

Dhamra is one the fastest growing ports under APSEZ. In last financial year, it logged 47 per cent volume growth in cargo shipments and raked in earnings of over Rs 900 crore. Dhamra, a port off the coast of north Odisha, also turned profitable in FY17 with a profit of Rs 180 crore.

On the whole, APSEZ registered a robust performance in the last financial year on the back of higher container volumes. APSEZ's container volumes grew 27 per cent year-on-year, to 4.24 million TEUs (twenty-tonne equivalent units).

DPCL is currently pursuing its second phase expansion to ramp up cargo handling to 100 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 25 mtpa. The expansion of this phase needs Rs 10,000 crore. In this phase, the proposed LNG terminal costing Rs 6,000 crore, is also expected to be commissioned. Apart from Adani Enterprises, Indian Oil and GAIL would have stakes in the project.

Source- Business Standard

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