ChPT looking to take over berths at Karaikal port
The Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) is exploring the possibility of taking over one or two berths at Karaikal port, a private port in Puducherry operated by the Chennai-based Marg Group, to handle bulk and dry bulk cargo.
Since there is no precedent or specific guidelines for a major port to take over a port/private berth, the ChPT has asked the Indian Ports Association (IPA) to formulate a business plan for this proposal, said sources.
Sources said that the ChPT is now formulating a business plan to look at alternative modes of development to increase cargo volume, improve financial position and sustain operations.
There has been a significant drop in cargo volume at the Chennai port following a Supreme Court ban on handling of coal, iron ore and other dusty cargo in October 2011.
The Chennai Port handled nearly 10 million tonnes of coal for thermal power stations in 2008-09.
GRK Reddy, Director, Karaikal Port Private Limited, recently suggested to the ChPT two proposals — use a deep draft mechanised berth at Karaikal port to handle coal for Tamil Nadu Electricity Board or take one or two berths on sub-concession or Build, Operate and Transfer basis.
Sources said that the berth can handle coal, containers and LNG. A team led by ChPT Chairman Atulya Mishra visited the Karaikal Port, and a non-major port of Cuddalore operated by the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board, and a greenfield site at Pazhaiyaru in Tamil Nadu to develop a satellite port. It has zeroed in Karaikal port based on Reddy’s proposal.
The Karaikal port is a lagoon type all-weather deep water port (draft ranging between 11 m and 14.5 m) developed by a special purpose vehicle under a 30-year concession with the Government of Puducherry. It has five berths with a back up area of around 150 acres. It handled 6.24 million tonnes last financial year.
The study will also include financial model of the business plan. A team headed by Anuj Agarwal former Private-Public-Partnership expert in the Ministry of Shipping along with experts from various areas of specialisation (civil engineering, mechanical, legal and traffic) have been formed for the assignment, sources said.