Supreme Court puts Chennai port in the dock on dusty cargo

Supreme Court puts Chennai port in the dock on dusty cargo

Chennai: The Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) has been directed by India’s Supreme Court to come up with a comprehensive proposal with technical inputs to show that it can handle dusty cargo.

The apex court was hearing a special leave petition filed by the ChPT to review the Madras High Court’s judgment banning the port from handling coal and other dusty cargo, in an effort to curb pollution in the city. In the wake of the judgment, all coal imports were shifted to Kamarajar port at Ennore.

Despite the loss of dry bulk cargo volumes, the ChPT is looking at a substantial jump in container volumes for the financial year 2015-16, once the capital dredging work in Ambedkar Dock is completed by end-June this year.

Box volumes at India’s second largest container port (behind Jawaharlal Nehru port) rose by a modest 5.7% to 1.52m teu in 2014-15. However, once Ambedkar Dock gets an alongside depth of 15.5 metres, larger cellular vessels will be able to call at Chennai, rather than have India-bound cargo transhipped at Colombo.

Meanwhile, a fresh request for qualification (RFQ) for the Outer Harbour project – which will cater to a cargo mix of containers, dry, breakbulk and liquid cargo – is being formulated after discussions with prospective bidders. When commissioned, it will take the port’s capacity to above 100m tonnes.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.

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