Test run to Sittwe port in Myanmar in April

The port of Kolkata, now known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, announced on Tuesday that it handled 65.66 million tonnes of cargo in the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 12.87 percent. It recorded a net surplus (profit) of Rs 3.04 crore in FY2023, up over 152 per cent from Rs 1.20 crore in the previous fiscal year.

The port also said a long-awaited trial run to the Port of Sittwe in Myanmar will be conducted in April with a cargo of 3,000 tons of cement.

The initiative is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project.

The aim of the project is to provide an alternative connection to the north-eastern region from the port of Kolkata via the port of Sittwe to Palapprox in Myanmar by waterway and from Palapprox to Zorinpui by road in Mizoram.

SMP Chairman PL Haranadh attributed the net surplus growth to higher cargo throughput, cost-cutting measures and a reduction in the obligation to contribute to the pension default fund.

He also said that provisions for the pension obligation gap have been met in accordance with the mandate.

“SMP exceeded the ministry’s target of 61 million tonnes. Our ranking improved one notch to fifth place among all major ports in the country,” he said.

The authorities refer to it as a lessor model, where the operational investment (capital expenditure) comes from the private sector in cargo handling and the port receives a royalty.

SMP (Haldia) AK Mehra Vice-Chairman said: “Over 80 percent of our sales will come from this model by 2030, up from around 10 percent currently. But the port will continue to maintain sea operations.”

The port has implemented several projects to increase capacity and reduce congestion in the city.

The chairman said: “We have developed plans to increase the total capacity to 110 million tons from the current 87 million tons.”

During the 2022-23 financial year, the port has awarded three major projects with an investment of Rs 730 crore in PPP mode.

These three projects are expected to increase capacity by 6.7 million tons, he said.

Authorities also decided to revitalize three unused GR berths outside the Kolkata Dock System lock gate, where an existing IWAI (Inland Waterways Authority of India) berth will be merged to increase the port’s capacity.

The development of an expanded port gate system in Balagarh is already underway with an investment of around Rs 450 billion, the official said.

The SMP authorities have also solicited expressions of interest for the development of a multi-modal logistics terminal on approximately 60 acres of land just 2 km from Kolkata Dock to facilitate warehousing, cold storage, truck terminal, rail and road links.

Night navigation of vessels to and from the Kolkata Dock System will begin in August, Kolkata Dock System Vice Chairman Samrat Rahi said.

In a joint collaboration with Antwerp Port of Belgium and IIT Chennai, the facility will be operational initially for small vessels up to 100 meters and by March 2024 for all vessels, he added.

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