A Special Session on ‘New Growth Dimension of Kolkata Port – Challenges & Opportunities’ was organized by Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Kolkata on Wednesday .The session was address by Vinit Kumar, Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust .Addressing the august gathering , Vinit Kumar said “…. Kolkata Port is entering its 150th year on 17th October 2019. Very few companies worldwide have survived in their business for such a long time. Kolkata Port is lucky in the sense that it is very close to the consumption center of Kolkata. Kolkata Port is oldest port in India. Kolkata Port handled 63.7 million tonnes of cargo in 2018-19, which is the highest volume of cargo that it has ever handled. Haldia Port handled its highest volume of cargo of 45.2 million tonnes in 2018-19. The volume of cargo is growing at 10 p.c. annually. There are 12 ports in India and Kolkata Port is ranked fifth in cargo handling. Draught is a challenge for Kolkata Port. It is only riverine City Port of India with impounded docks. Ships can only enter during tides. Efforts are being made to automate lock gate at Haldia. For Kolkata Port, a long term contract for dredging has been given to Dredging Corporation of India.
KoPT is practicing trans-shipment of cargo as large ships cannot enter the Port. Large ships can avail of deep anchorage facilities at Sagar from where the goods are trans-shipped. KoPT will soon start trans-shipment of container cargo.For capacity augmentation, KoPT has added 40,000 sq. meters of storage area. This year, it is adding 45,000 sq. meters of storage area. KoPT can store 12,000 containers which is being increased to 16,000 containers. The port of Kolkata has made investment decision both for KDS and HDC, keeping in mind the river morphology and traffic that can best be handled in these two locations, harnessing the respective potentials of the two dock systems. Kolkata Port has huge potential in respect of movement of cargo through Inland Water Transport (IWT) mode. Kolkata Port derives opportunities from being at the cusp of National Waterway 1 and National Waterway 2. Goods can be transported from Kolkata to North East by using National Waterway 2 (through Bangladesh).KoPT is setting up special Refrigerator facilities for transport of perishable products through the Port system ….” Vishal Jhajharia, President, MCCI, said “…. the capacity of the ports in terms of their berths and cargo handling equipment needs to keep pace with the growing requirements of the overseas trade. Approximately 95 p.c. of the country’s trade by volume and 68 p.c. by value are moved through Maritime Transport. The Sagarmala Programme is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes. The main vision of the Sagarmala Programme is to reduce logistics cost for exports-imports and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment. Under the Sagarmala Programme, 602 projects at an estimated investment of more than Rs. 8.78 Lac Crore have been identified for implementation over the next 20 years. In West Bengal, 37 projects have been initiated at a cost of Rs. 31,654 crores and six have been completed. Efficiency at ports has an important bearing on the transaction cost. Major ports have improved their efficiency of operation particularly in terms of turnaround time (TRT). …..”KoPT has initiated several effective measures to put growth of its business in high trajectory and expand its business many fold with image courtesy to DNA India.