The Kamarajar port Ennore the only Corporate Port among the major ports of
the country has raised a One hundred million US dollar loan (Rs 1,220 Crores)
from Axis Bank to fund the expansion projects including deepening of the port
to 18 meters draft.
The Port Chairman M A Bhaskaracharya has announced the decision of the port
to go in for the dollar loan at an interest rate of around three per cent. The
interest rate for the dollar loans is competitive compared to domestic lending
rates by commercial banks which vary from eight to ten per cent for Corporate
Following the directive of Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari that the
government owned ports should go in low cost foreign currency borrowing by leveraging
the port's foreign exchange earnings which provided a natural advantage to the
port sector. This would help cut finance cost and make the ports more competitive.
The Port floated a tender recently for the loan and the participants
include Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC bank. The State Bank of India had also
evinced interest in the project. Axis Bank was chosen by the Port in the tender
since it quoted the lowest interest rate of 3.15 per cent. The loan has since
been approved by the Port's Board.
The Kamarajar port has become the second port in the country after JNPT in
Navi Mumbai to secure dollar loan. The loan has a tenure of five years
including a moratorium period of one year from the date of the first
disbursement. JNPT also secured a dollar loan at the same interest rate.
Following the footsteps of Kamarajar and JNPT ports, Kandla Port's board
has also cleared a proposal to raise dollar loans to fund the port's expansion
Mr Bhaskaracharya who will be relinquishing office after a five year stint
as Chairman of Kamarajar Port by the end of this month said the loan will be
used to deepen the port to eighteen meters draft from the present sixteen feet
so that capex vessels could dock at the port. Handling such huge vessels will
help to reduce the cargo handling costs he said
Other expansion projects to be funded from this loan include a new coal
berth for the Tamil Nadu government run power utility, a new general cargo
berth, the second automobile export terminal with a capacity to handle three
Jawaharlal Nehru port was the first port in the country to go in for dollar
loans. The largest cargo handling port in the country raised a loan of four
hundred million dollars from a consortium comprising State bank of India and
Development bank of Singapore. The project funded includes construction of road
for faster evacuation of cargo from the Port.