Gopalpur port starts commercial operations

Berhampur: Gopalpur Port in Ganjam district has started its commercial operations as an all-weather port on a trial basis.
A consignment of around 7,500 metric tonnes of ilmenite, a sand mineral product of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL), was shipped through a small vessel on Sunday to South Korea. The empty ship had anchored at the dockyard on May 23.
"We will rectify defects, if any, before the port starts functioning in a full-fledged manner, in a month's time", said Director (Operations) of Gopalpur Port Limited (GPL) M M Moharana.
More vessels are expected to arrive at the port for shipment of iron ore, IREL products, other minerals and food grains, he said.
The port had got the clearance for its operations from the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) and the Customs Department on May 14. The shipments were stopped in 2010 for the construction of the all-weather port. Prior to that, a port at Arjeepalli, about 30 km from here, was functioning as a seasonal one.
"We have constructed a multi-purpose berth with a cargo handling capacity of 3.50 million tonne. Another two berths would soon be constructed," Moharana said.
Besides the port, work on other supporting infrastructure like power distribution system, railway and road connectivity is in progress, he said.
The state government had awarded the Rs 1200-crore port development project to Orissa Stevedors Limited (OSL), Sara International Limited (SIL) and Hong Kong based Noble Group in 2008. The Noble Group had, however, pulled out of the project about two years ago, port sources said.
"Already Rs 850 crore has been spent to make it an all-weather port", Moharana said.