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Kamaraj Port Ennore appoints a consultant to study alternate cargo handling in coal berths

The Kamaraj port all set to create coal handling capacity of sixty million tons has appointed a Consultant recenlty to study the possibility of alternate cargo handling in these berths in the light of rising demand for cheaper Solar and Wind energy in Tamil Nadu, Port Chairman M A Bhaskarachar told Sagar Sandesh.

In a wide ranging interview to our newspaper before he steps down as Chairman of the port by the end of this month, the post he held for nearly five years was reacting to recent trends by TANJEDCO of backing down on thermal power in favour of non conventional energy.

Tamil Nadu has been the leader in wind energy among the various states of the country while solar energy is fast picking up in the state. The state electricity board prefers this clean source of energy. Besides they are cheaper than thermal sources.

The five million ton LNG terminal which is coming up at the port is expected to be commissioned in the next eighteen months. The terminal being put up by the Indian Oil corporation and nearly 60 per cent of the project work has been completed he said.

Various infrastructure projects both for building capacity for cargo handling and evacuation along with quality of service will see the port through in the face of severe competition posed by the private ports in the vicinity. Unlike the other government ports, the tariff in Kamaraj port is not fixed by TAMP. Being a Corporate port we enjoy autonomy in fixing the tariff according to market conditions, he said

The Port has taken up an ambitious project of laying four lane road from the port premises to Vallur junction a seven kilometre stretch besides improving the quality of roads within the port premises

A truck terminal is being commissioned in a 20 acre land within the port to facilitate parking of five hundred container trucks. A railway line has been set bang next to the container terminal to be operated by the Adanis.

Work will soon start on deepening the port to eighteen meters draft so that Cape size liner vessels get attracted to the port.

Mr Bhaskarachar said we have learnt lessons from the evacuation difficulties faced by the port in the vicinity and taken appropriate measures for smooth movement of cargo from the port. The port tariff is on par with the one levied by the Chennai port.

The port operating with a lean staff of nearly one hundred persons earned operating revenue of Rs 620 crores during the last financial year. It earned a profit of Rs 480 crores.

The port has raised one hundred million US dollars through extra commercial borrowing at low rates of interest and along with internal accruals will finance capacity addition projects 57 million tons. The projects are expected to be completed by early next year by which time the total handling capacity of the port is expected to touch 95 million tons.

Mr Bhaskarachar sounded a note of caution to future port administrators that should constantly monitor the progress of North Port Access Road being undertaken by the Tamil Nadu government. The road will be lifeline of the port as well as Katupalli port for the future. The road project has taken off amidst teething problems by the state government.

Having successfully steered the port to consolidation, Mr Bhaskarachar has an unfulfilled ambition for the port to be among the first top five ports of the country along with JNPT, Paradip, Kandla and Visakhapatnam. It now ranks in the tenth position he said.


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