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SMP Port to invest ₹1,700-crore for modernising port infrastructure and increasing cargo handling capacity

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Shri Vaibhavi Logistics

KOLKATA : Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Kolkata, (formerly Kolkata Port Trust) has lined up investments worth ₹1,700 crore for augmenting capacity, modernising infrastructure, monetisation of asset and digitisation of operations, modernisation and creating infrastructure over the next two years. The projects, which are under the National Gati Shakti plan, would help create modern infrastructure and competitive logistics supply chain.

According to Vinit Kumar, Chairman of SMP, projects worth ₹700 crore have already been completed in the last two years and ₹1,700-crore worth projects are under various stages of implementation. The port is striving hard to advance the project timelines to help bring down the overall logistics cost.

“Logistics cost in India is 13-14 per cent, while globally it is 7-8 per cent. So there is a stress on bringing down the cost through comprehensive planning,” Kumar said at a press conference here on Monday.

Among some of the upcoming projects, the extended gate of Kolkata Port will be built at Balagarh, about 80 km from Kolkata. The ₹370-crore project, which is set to have four-to-six berths, will initially commence with two berths in the next two years.

“We are looking to invest around ₹100 crore in the project and are requesting the government to fund another ₹100 crore. We are looking to rope in a private operator for the remaining investment (of around ₹170 crore),” he said.

SMP would come out with a tender, calling for private companies to invest and operate the project within the next six months.

The Kolkata port authorities had recently handed over the letter of award to Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) for mechanisation and upgradation of a berth in Haldia Dock Complex at an estimated investment of around ₹300 crore.

SMP was also seeking to modernise more berths at Haldia under PPP model after successful hand over of berth 2 to the Adani Group to install rapid loading systems.

The port is also planning to rope in more private companies to boost the river cruise venture. It has earmarked ₹66-crore comprehensive project to develop three to four cruise terminals along with riverfront beautification and commercial development on a 31-acre plot at Khidderpore.

SMP holds the unique advantage of having rail, road and inland water connectivity (NW 1 and 2) and provides immense opportunities for stakeholders to use the port ecosystem for the transit of goods.

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