JOURNEY TO 100MMT CLUB
IRTS, CHAIRMAN, PARADIP PORT TRUST
Paradip Port in the last 3-4 years worked on a broad strategy and also successfully executed plans to achieve the cargo volume. The port has not made any changes to its tariff since FY2012-13, and the tariff will remain unchanged till 2019.
Q Paradip Port is the 3rd port in India and first on the east coast to handle 100 million tones of cargo in a financial year! What are the factors that contributed to the volume?
A Paradip is one of the largest dry bulk handling ports in the country. Dealing with dry bulk comes with some inherent challenges like pollution, involvement of multiple handling agencies, and many other issues. So it requires lot of co-ordination to seamlessly manage the cargo. One of the fundamental reasons for cargo growth at Paradip is that the port has been able to provide quality services to customers at the cheapest price. The value that the port provides to the customers is the most important factor for the success. The port in the last 3-4 years worked on a broad strategy and also successfully executed plans to achieve the cargo volume. The port has not made any changes to its tariff since FY2012-13, and the tariff will remain unchanged till 2019, and in recent years Paradip is the only port in the country to keep tariff steady. Unlike earlier days when there were anti-competitive practices at the port, but now a fair degree of competition was introduced into the system, and it helped in a way that the cargo handling cost for customers has came down by 30-40 percent in FY2017-18 as compared to the year 2012. Due to healthy competition, cargo handling efficiency at the port has also improved. Staying competitive is need of the hour, and Paradip’s competition is not limited to Dhamra or Gopalpur ports, even bigger ports like Gangavaram which can handle capesize bulker and offer very economical rate are capable of diverting cargo meant for Paradip. Hence, a great deal of co-ordination with all stakeholders including railways has helped Paradip to achieve the growth in cargo volume. With cost of service coming down due to improved efficiency, the port is now focusing on adding infrastructure into place to remain competitive. Cargo volume is growing at a rate of 16-17 percent Y-O-Y for Paradip, and the port aims to overtake Kandla to become the highest cargo handling port in the country in FY2018-19.
Q Which are the other cargo segments that you are looking at other than bulk?
A We are looking at changing the eco-system in and around Paradip like handling clean cargo. In this direction along with the clean cargo handling berth, the port is putting in place auxiliary infrastructure to attract customers. The port has invested heavily to control pollution. The construction of container-cum-clean cargo handling berth is going to be completed 1 year before the scheduled timeline. The first vessel is expected to be berthed sometime by the end of April 2018. Apart from containers, the berth will handle steel coils and other steel products. Among other infrastructure, the berth has a warehouse adjacent to it, and a quayside railway terminal. One of the highly industrialized regions in the country is located within 100km radius of Paradip Port that include, heavy industries like steel, aluminum, fertilizer, coal mines and oil refinery. The Indian Oil refinery will soon operate at full capacity of 250 million tonne in current year, Essar pallet plant will augment capacity, and there is growth expected in iron ore pallet movement. Coal movement to southern parts of India is also going to increase. A new mechanized import coal handling berth will be operational by December 2019, an iron ore handling berth will be commissioned in December-january of FY2018-19, and the container handling berth will be fully operational in two months. Most of the planned infrastructure will be complete by December 2019, including mechanization of 3 export coal berths.
Rinkesh Roy, IRTS, Chairman, Paradip Port Trust