MPT shifting to multi-commodity port

| 04 May 1997 23:35 IST

The Mormugao Port Trust is planning to shift from the mono-commodity iron ore exporting port to multi-commodity port, with various expansion plans for the general cargo traffic, as the iron ore exports are indicating a marginal decline.

Dr Jose Paul, the newly appointed MPT chairman, expects heavy traffic of general cargo after commissioning of the Konkan railway and restarting of the South Central railway with a broad gauge by end of the year.

The broadgauge work going on for last two years had severely affected the traffic of fertilisers and coke and coal. But the new openings on the railway track is expected to increase the traffic at Mormugao port, with more sugar traffic, besides scope for exports of wheat and rice.

The MPT records indicate a 12 per cent growth in general cargo traffic in one year, including 169 per cent rise in exports of molasses, alumina and sugar. While molasses have staged a comeback on Mormugao port after two years, it has also begun pig iron exports from last month.

The MPT had identified a site for an outer harbour with 13 new berths, a major project worth Rs 2200 crore, to handle the additional anticipated traffic of 8.40 million tonnes. But Dr Paul has held up the project, appointing Netherlands-based Fredric Harris to prepare a feasibility report.

The outer harbour project should not only fulfil its technical requirements, but it should be the least troublesome location in terms of inconvenience to the local population, says Dr Paul. Approval will also be sought from the Central Water Research Centre, Pune and the NIO in Goa.

The ambitious project, to be built on BOT basis, expects its 11 berths to handle anticipated throughput of around 4.40 million tonnes of general cargo, coal and iron ore while the two mooring berths would handle the traffic of around four million tonnes of POL and LPG.

Though Dr Paul personally seemed to be against private projects on BOOT basis, providing ownership to the builders, he is going ahead with its earlier plan to construct two new berths - 5A and 6A - worth Rs 220 crore on BOOT basis. It would handle five million tonnes of dry cargo.

The MPT's other expansion schemes worth over Rs 4000 crore also include three berths by BPCL, Navy and Coast Guard to handle about 30 lakh tonnes of POL, mooring berth for carrying POL transhipment, four berths for iron ore and coal traffic of three million tonnes and two berths to handle four million tonnes of LPG and other POL products, all by 2005 AD.

Making a profit of Rs 2.90 crore last year, with a net surplus of Rs 21.57 crore, the MPT has recorded highest productivity among all major ports of the country. Dr Paul claims that the profits would rise to Rs 3.50 crore in the current year.

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