Tamil Nadu has the second longest coastline running 1076 km with four major ports and 22 non-major ports. Chennai, Ennore and Tuticorin ports have propelled the growth of the manufacturing sector across the state.
The 138 year-old Chennai port is India’s second largest and the third oldest port. It is the first man-made port constructed in 1881. The Chennai Port had been the gateway of India for the eastern side and plays a significant part in the economic development of South India. The all-weather port has 24 berths and currently handles 52 million tonnes of cargo and has a capacity of 102 million tonnes. The primary commodities are containers, petroleum products and general cargo. Export of Hyundai Motors, ie., about 2 lakh cars a year, is made through this port.
Chennai port provides direct connectivity to China, West Africa, Europe and US and to ports like Shanghai, Qingdao, London, Damietta, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Busan… on weekly basis. Recently a modern International Cruise Terminal was inaugurated at the Chennai Port. This is the first on the east coast of India. Built at the cost of Rs 17.24 crore over an area of 2880 square metres, the terminal has 10 immigration counters; 10 more are in the pipeline.
A lot of work has gone on the reduction of congestion within the port. A new multi-lane gate complex at Gate 1 facilitates seamless entry and exit of container and cargo vehicles. There is also a proposal to install a drive-through container scanner that is capable of scanning 5 containers concurrently. This will facilitate hassle-free operations of customs. To improve the connectivity to the port, along with Tamil Nadu government the port is working to get the elevated four-lane corridor from Maduravoyal to Chennai that will connect the Chennai Port. Two more rail lines are being commissioned and this will help in the smooth evacuation of cargo.
“In future Chennai will be of cars, cruise, containers and more of clean cargo,” said P Raveendran, IRTS who is currently the Chairman of both Chennai Port Trust and Kamarajar Port Ltd.
Ennore Port – The energy hub
The 12th major port of India was initially conceived as a mono commodity coal port dedicated to handling the coal requirements of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO). It was commissioned in 2001 and over the period developed as a multi-cargo port. It has the distinction of being the only corporate port amongst major ports administered by the Central government. The present capacity of the port in 67.70 MTPA of which 43.60 MTPS is operational.
In the next five years around 27 MTPA capacity addition with an investment of around Rs 8100 crore is planned to be completed. Of this, the significant investment is an LNG terminal built by Indian Oil Corporation built at a cost of over Rs 5100 crore and which would become operational by April 2019.
The port has two dedicated two coal berths for TANGEDCO, and two more berths of 9 MTPA capacity have been constructed. The port also has PPP partners operating. There is a coal berth and multi-cargo berth operated by the Chettinad group, a container berth of Adani Group and a liquid cargo berth of Ennore Tank Terminals Pvt Ltd. One more bulk berth has been awarded to SICAL that would be operational in a year. In addition to this KPL operates a general cargo berth that handles project cargo and export cars. All other major exporters (excluding Hyundai that uses the Chennai Port) like Nissan, Ford, Honda, Daimler, ALL export their vehicles from here.
There are also plans of another cargo berth and a phase 2 for a container terminal.
KPL is the fastest growing port this year among all major ports and has clocked a growth of 20 per cent. To handle this increased traffic, the port is investing in the creation of rail and road facilities too. Along with Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation, a southern port access road at the cost of Rs 200 crore is being constructed. Various railway projects are done by KPL through India Port Railway Company Limited(IPRCL). These include a railway platform at holding yard, rail connectivity to the container and multi-cargo terminals and doubling of existing Southern Railway connectivity.
Coastal Employment Units
As part of government’s initiative to create employment in coastal areas, KPL is developing a Coastal Employment Unit. Around 322 acres of land has been identified for creation of this. This would be similar to an industrial estate and will target employment-intensive industries. The unit will have common facilities for training and skill development of coastal area people. This will ensure that they are trained and absorbed for jobs.
In ten years, Kamarajar port will be in a position to handle 100 plus million tonnes with a capacity of 140 million tonnes.