Rs 450-cr Balagarh Terminal to Boost Trade in Kolkata Port: Official

The planned night shipping facility at the Kolkata dock system and the forthcoming Rs 450-crore terminal at Balagarh in West Bengal will boost the productivity of Syama Prasad Mookherjee port by 30 percent, a senior official said Sunday.

The SMP, formerly known as Kolkata Port, is working closely with IIT-Chennai and the Belgian port of Antwerp to introduce night navigation over the next three months, he said.

The Balagarh terminal is expected to be operational within the next 24 months.

Balagarh Island is located approximately 85 km upstream from the main docks of the Port of Kolkata on the Inland Waterway-1 in Hooghly District.

“The upcoming terminal, together with night navigation, will significantly increase the port’s productivity. The original plan was to introduce night navigation as far as Uluberia, but the port has now decided to extend it to Diamond Harbour,” Samrat Rahi, Vice Chairman of SMP (Kolkata), told PTI.

Night navigation system is currently available as far as Haldia.

“It will reduce the turnaround time of ships from Kolkata docks by 30 percent and will require investments of Rs 17 crore,” Rahi said.

The port will also introduce ‘virtual buoys’ to guide ships along the 130km route between Sagar Island and the Kidderpore Dock System (KDS) and a 3D digital simulation of its docks will be used for nighttime navigation using artificial intelligence, he said.

According to officials, this can save at least $10,000 on a ship in retention damage.

Meanwhile, a team of senior officials including SMP Chair PL Haranadh visited the project site last week to advance the expanded Port Gate Facility in Balagarh.

The project is currently in the advanced planning phase. The idea is to shift cargo to barges in Dimond Port using a floating crane, bypassing the Kolkata Dock. This will have a dual benefit – decongesting the port and reducing pollution in the city,” Rahi said.

The terminal will handle both containers and bulk and will be built on 100 acres of port land on the island.

“The proposed total cost of the project is estimated at around Rs. 450 crore, of which Rs. 350 crore is expected to come from public-private partnership (PPP) partners for the construction of berths, procurement of equipment and development of associated facilities”, said Rahi.

SMP is expected to handle more than 65 million tons of cargo by the end of 2022-23, officials said.

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