Paradip Port ranks first among the major ports and aims to handle 150 tons of cargo this financial year

To take the top spot among the country’s major ports, Paradip Port Trust is targeting 150 million tons of cargo throughput this fiscal year and is implementing a strategy to increase its capacity to 500 tons by 2047, its chairman PL Haranadh said on Sunday .

The port at Odisha is now the second busiest among all 12 major ports in India, handling 135.36 million tons of cargo in 2022-23, just 2.5 million tons less than Gujarat’s top-tier port of Kandla, he said.

“The cargo handling target for the current financial year is 150 million tons. If all goes well, we could become the best port among major ports in the country in terms of cargo handling,” said PL Haranadh, Chairman of Paradip Port.

The strategy to increase the port’s capacity utilization includes “freezing tariffs, an emphasis on coastal shipping for competitiveness, allocating land for port-led industrialization, and expanding the cargo basket.”

Paradip Port, which has now mechanized 80 percent of its berths, plans to become a 100 percent mechanized facility by 2030, with full automation of the existing four semi-mechanized berths, he said.

In addition, “the port is focusing on coastal shipping to reduce the country’s logistics costs,” he said.

“We currently have a coastal shipping capacity of 74 million tons and aim to increase this to 100 million tons by 2030,” said the chairman.

The port has already made capital expenditures (capex) of Rs 10,000 crore to increase its capacity to 400 million tons by 2030, he said.

“As part of Vision 2047, our goal is to reach a capacity of 500 million tons. Capital expenditures for 2030 from all sources will be approximately Rs 10,000 and will help increase our nominal capacity to 400 million tons from the current 279 million tons,” Haranadh said.

Western Dock, a key project, will attract an investment of Rs 3,000 crore, increasing capacity by 25 million tons, while the remainder of the capital expenditures will go to other eight development projects by 2030, the chairman said.

Despite global headwinds, Paradip Port remains confident of executing on its expansion plans.

As part of their port-led industrialization initiatives, the authorities have allocated 769 acres of land to various industries, which will lead to investments of over Rs 8,7 trillion, he said.

“This will help generate an additional 50 million tons of cargo traffic to the port,” Haranadh said.

Paradip Port authorities have also planned to diversify their cargo basket.

“We are trying to diversify our cargo basket as Paradip Port has so far mainly focused on three traditional cargoes – crude oil, iron and coal. We conducted a trial to transport gypsum to a western port,” he said.

“With an operating rate of 38 percent, Paradip Port is and will remain among the “lowest cost port operators in the world,” the official claimed.

The operational metric is a financial metric used in the transportation industry to measure a company’s efficiency. If the ratio is lower, it means the efficiency is higher.

“Last year we decided to freeze the tariff for the next three years,” Haranadh said.

The port plans to set up an LNG/CNG refueling center on a PPP model to promote green transportation.

There are also plans to develop Paradip into a hydrogen hub, with an exclusive facility for handling green hydrogen and green ammonia in a PPP model.

As the DPR is almost complete, the project is expected to be awarded in the next fiscal year, Haranadh said.

According to him, the country’s major ports will continue to thrive, and the share of these facilities in total traffic has increased by one percent in the last fiscal year.

The major ports handle 55 percent of the total traffic, while 200 non-major ports handle 45 percent of the country’s total export-import traffic.

In the last financial year, all major ports together handled around 795 million tons of export-import traffic and recorded growth of 10 percent.

The port is also working on sustainability efforts, such as planting a million trees over the next five years, increasing the capacity of a sewage treatment plant to 10 MLD and building a 10MW solar power plant to reduce reliance on thermal energy, he added added .

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