Paradip Port Trust, the first and only major port operating in Orissa on the east coast since last five decades, has proposed to set up a second port in the state.
It has zeroed in on Bahuda Muhan in Ganjam district for the project. Interestingly, the proposed site, one of the 14 locations identified by the state government for establishment of non-major ports, had earlier attracted the notice of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) for a similar venture.
“We have sent the proposal to the state government and are waiting for the approval,” said A C Bose, deputy chairman of PPT.
However, he refused to disclose the details of the project.
On the other hand, JSPL, which had evinced interest to set up a port at the same location, had proposed to construct it with a capital investment of Rs 1,424.4 crore. The operational cost of running the port was pegged at Rs 152 crore per annum.
The port site is located at a distance of 30 km south of the existing Gopalpur port and 18 km from Berhampur, the commercial hub of south Orissa.
JSPL wanted to develop the port as a captive project to meet the internal cargo movement requirement for the company’s steel and power plant coming up at Angul.
PPT is interested to construct the port as a sister venture.
Besides JSPL and PPT, several other investors, including couple of steel companies whose projects are in the pipeline in the state, have shown interest to develop a port at the same area, sources in government said.
Anticipating fierce competition from about seven other non-major ports that will come into existence in the state by next five years, PPT has already announced to expand its current capacity.
The expansion plan included to increase traffic capacity to 237 million tonne by 2020, from 76 million tonne at present. The main addition in the capacity includes 22 million tonne for crude oil to support the cargo traffic of refinery project of Indian Oil Corporation Lt (IOCL), 95 million tonne for iron ore and coal, 20 million tonne for liquefied natural gas and a multipurpose berth which will have a capacity of 15 million tonne.
Currently Paradip port is mainly used for handling iron ore, coal, fertiliser raw material and other bulk cargo.
The proposed non-major port at Bahuda Muhan is expected to handle cargo like graphite, corn, cotton and cashew, major products of south Orissa.
Along with steel and power, the state has been able to attract investments to develop ports as the government took steps to tap its unutilised coastline that stretches for 480 km and faces Southeast Asia.