Paradip Port eyes top spot among major ports, aims at 150 mt cargo handling

Paradip Port Trust is targeting 150 million tonnes of cargo handling this financial budget and implementing a strategy to increase its capacity to 500 metric tonnes by 2047, Chairman PL Haranadh on Sunday said.

He added that the port in Odisha now ranks second among all the 12 major ports in India, handling 135.36 million tonnes of cargo in 2022-23, just 2.5 million tonnes less than the top-tier Kandla port in Gujarat.

“The cargo handling target for the current fiscal year is 150 million tons. We may become the number one port among the major ports of the country in terms of cargo handling if all goes well,” BL Haranadh, head of Port Paradip told PTI in an interview.

The strategy for increasing port capacity utilization includes “tariff freeze, focus on coastal shipping in order to compete, allocate land for port-led industrialization, and broaden the cargo basket.”

He said Port Paradip, which has now managed to operate 80 percent of its berths, plans to become a 100 percent mechanized facility by 2030 with full automation of the existing four semi-automated berths.

In addition, he said, the port is “focusing on coastal shipping to reduce the country’s logistical costs.”

“We currently have 74 million tons of coastal freight capacity and we aim to increase it to 100 million tons by 2030,” said the chairman.

He said the port has already put in place a capital (capital) expenditure of Rs 10,000 crore to increase its capacity to 400 million tons by 2030.

“As part of Vision 2047, our target is to achieve a production capacity of 500 million tons. The capital expenditure for 2030 from all sources will be around Rs 10,000 crore, and it will help raise our estimated capacity to 400 million tons from 279 million tons now,” Harnada said.

The chairman said Western Dock, a flagship project, will attract an Rs 3,000 crore investment, which will add 25 million tonnes of capacity, while the rest of the capital expenditures till 2030 will be carried out in eight other development projects.

Despite global headwinds, Port Paradip remains confident of executing its expansion plans.

As part of the port-led industrialization initiatives, the authorities have allocated 769 acres of land to various industries, which will lead to an investment of over Rs 8,700 crore, he said.

“This will help generate an additional 50 million tons of freight traffic to the port,” Harnada said.

The Paradip Port Authority has also planned to diversify its cargo basket.

“We are trying to diversify our basket of goods, as Paradip port has so far focused mainly on three traditional commodities, namely ore, iron and coal. We have carried out an experiment to transport gypsum to a western port,” he said.

The official claimed, “With an operating rate of 38 per cent, Port Paradip is among the ‘lowest cost port operators in the world and will remain so’.”

The operating ratio is a financial metric used in the transportation industry to measure a company’s efficiency. When the ratio is lower, it indicates that the efficiency is higher.

“Last year, we decided to freeze tariffs for the next three years,” Harnada said.

The port plans to set up an LNG/CNG refilling center on the PPP model to promote environmentally friendly transportation.

It also plans to develop Paradip into a hydrogen centre, with an exclusive facility to handle green hydrogen and green ammonia on the PPP model.

Harnada explained that with the DRC almost ready, the project is expected to be awarded in the next fiscal year.

According to him, the country’s major ports will continue to thrive, and the share of these facilities in total traffic increased by one percent in the past fiscal year.

Major ports handle 55 percent of the total traffic, while 200 non-major ports handle 45 percent of the country’s total export and import traffic.

In the last fiscal year, all major ports together handled nearly 795 million tons of export and import traffic, recording a growth of 10 percent.

He added that the port is also working on sustainability efforts, such as planting one million trees over the next five years, boosting the capacity of the sewage treatment plant to 10 MLD, and establishing a 10 megawatt solar power plant to reduce reliance on thermal energy. .

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