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SMP Kolkata : Twin docks gear up to haul more

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KOLKATA : Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, (SMPK) plans to increase its cargo handling capacity and mechanisation efforts by awarding 2-3 projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode during this financial year.

It already has in place three PPP projects in various stages of completion — facilities at Shalukkhali to increase the liquid cargo handling capacity of the Haldia dock complex (HDC); rejuvenation of Khidderpore to enhance the containerised traffic of Kolkata dock system (KDS); and mechanisation of berth 2 at HDC for handling dry bulk cargo — at an estimated cost of over ₹700 crore.

SMPK, formerly known as Kolkata Port Trust, has cargo handling capacity of 87.35 million tonnes (MT) with its two dock systems, KDS and HDC.

“We are planning to increase the combined capacity by around 30 MT in the next seven years through 12 PPP projects. Three projects have already been awarded, while another two to three projects will be awarded before March next year,” SMPK Chairman Mr. Rathendra Raman said.

The estimated cost of the 12 projects is ₹5,214 crore.

Notably, projects worth around ₹620 crore have been completed at the port since 2019, including the construction of a liquid cargo handling jetty at HDC, a second railway line from Durgachak to HDC, and a rail overbridge at Ranichak at HDC, among others.

SMPK handled 31.16 MT of cargo during the first half of this financial year, compared to 30.91 MT during the same period of FY23.

During the financial year 2022-23, SMPK handled 65.66 MT of cargo, registering close to 13 per cent year-on-year growth and the highest ever for the port, surpassing the previous record of 63.98 MT in 2019-20. This, in turn, elevated SMPK to the fifth position (from sixth the previous year) among major ports in cargo handling.

Established in 1870, SMPK holds the unique distinction of being India’s sole all-weather riverine port.

It primarily handles petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) products, LPG, vegetable oil, liquid chemicals, iron ore, thermal/coking coal, break bulk/dry bulk cargo, and containers. KDS is focused on containers, while HDC is focused on dry and liquid bulk.

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