Dhamra port dedicated to nation

Dhamra: The deepest port in the eastern region was dedicated to the nation on Sunday by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.  The fully mechanised all weather port would benefit the mineral hinterland of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal with its deep draft suitable for large vessels.

The present capacity of Dhamra Port is 12 MT per annum for import of coal and limestone and 6.50 million tonnes per annum for export of iron ore, port officials said.

"The country`s existing port handling capacity is one billion tonne and it has to be increased three times by 2020 if we have to meet the future export-import requirement," Union Shipping Secretary K Mohandas said at the inauguration.

He said the port would substantially contribute towards increasing the port capacity in the country. "It is a landmark in the history of state`s economic development as the state got the second major port in a gap of 45 years," Patnaik said adding the new port would act as "gateway" to the state`s development.

The chief minister unveiled a stone plaque on the port jetty and went around to see unloading operations from a 18,0000 capacity capsize vessel from Australia which carried coal and had berthed at the port yesterday.

Developed in a 50:50 joint venture of L&T and Tata Steel, the Dhamra Port Company Ltd had been awarded a concession to build and operate the port in Bhadrak district on BOOST (Build, Own, Operate, Share and Transfer) basis for a period of 34 years including 4 years for construction.

During Phase-I, DPCL has constructed two fully mechanized berths of 350 meters each along with backup facilities for handling imports of coking coal, steam/thermal coal, limestone and export of iron ore, officials said.

The construction of Phase-I commenced in March`07 and was completed in less than 4 years. The Port became commercially operational on May 6, 2011. It provided handling facilities with a discharge rate of 60,000 MT per day of coal and load rate of 100,000 MT per day of iron ore.

The port has a deep draught of 17.5 metre which can handle cape size vessels upto 180000 DWT capacity. DPCL has built an 18 km channel to connect the port with deep sea and an 62-km fully electrified rail link to connect the port with the Howrah-Chennai main line for transportation of cargo.