Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) handled 56.19 million tonnes of cargo in 2011-12, an increase of 3 per cent over the previous year’s traffic of 54.59 million tonnes. In the process, it overtook two Major Ports to rank 4th in overall throughput among the country’s ports, according to Exim News Service.
Compared to the negative 1.73 per cent growth of all Major Ports, MbPT’s performance stands out. The rise was due to its resurgent performance, especially in the last quarter, with March 2012 registering an all-time high traffic of 5.96 million tonnes.
These details were highlighted at a media interaction addressed here on Tuesday (April 17) by Mr Rajeev Gupta, Chairman of MbPT, along with Mr Shree Kant Singh, Deputy Chairman, MbPT, and other senior Port officials.
The Chairman also announced that the first phase of the Port’s much-delayed offshore container terminal (OCT), comprising 2 berths of 700 m quay length and capacity of 0.8 million TEUs, would be commissioned by the end of calendar year 2012. The berths are being designed to cater to 6,000-TEU vessels.
The project is being executed on BOT basis and entails a total investment of Rs 1,460 crore.
The second phase of the OCT will see another 0.4 million TEUs added to the capacity.
Among the other infrastructure augmentation projects in progress is the deepening of Harbour Wall berths 18 to 21 Indira Dock and reconstruction with wider jetties for general cargo, Mr Gupta said. Proposed to be commissioned by September 2013, its planned capacity is 8 million tonnes.
Also planned is the second liquid chemical berth at New Pir Pau, of capacity 2 million tonnes, to be commissioned by September 2014, as well as the fifth oil berth at Jawahar Dweep having capacity to handle large, fully loaded Suezmax tankers and light-draught VLCCs. The oil berth, scheduled for commissioning by August 2015, would add 20 million tonnes to the Port’s capacity, the Chairman informed.
Most major commodities have shown improvement, except containers and POL. Till 2009, the POL cargo handled ex-ONGC pipelines through MbPT was included in the throughput. If one considers 3.03 million tonnes of this ONGC cargo, MbPT handled an all-time high 59.22 million tonnes.
MbPT owns and operates a wide railway network for freight movement. In 2011-12, a record traffic of 36.40 lakh tonnes was handled by the Port Railway system, as against 27.70 lakh tonnes in 2010-11, an increase of 31.41 per cent. Notably, 8.49 lakh tonnes of domestic cement was handled, eliminating the entry of about 80,000 truck movements into the city.
There was a 3 per cent improvement in productivity parameters. Ship day output increased in 2011-12 to 7,709 tonnes from 7,487 tonnes in 2010-11. The Port is now berthing larger parcel size ships, with average parcel size of 19,773 tonnes, against 18,221 tonnes. The number of ships that called at the Port increased to 5,761 from 5,622.
The Port’s target for the next fiscal, set by the Shipping Ministry, is 61 million tonnes, while the internal target, the Chairman said, is 64 million tonnes. The thrust will be to improve POL and container traffic. To woo POL cargo, the Port management has offered priority berthing to ONGC vessels in order to enhance utilisation of the Jawahar Dweep facility. As a result, in the first 15 days of April 2012, ONGC handled 2.90 lakh tonnes of crude, a sharp increase against the monthly average of 2.25 lakh tonnes in 2011-12.
The Port contributed Rs 5.01 crore towards the CSR Fund set up in 2011-12. It has also set up a Heritage Committee to take up preservation work on its rich heritage and to set up a Maritime Museum.
It is also finalising plans to establish dedicated cruise facilities as well as a world class marina, and is working with other stakeholders to improve the eastern waterfront of Mumbai city. In addition, the Port is working closely with MMRDA and MSRDC to augment the water transport facilities.
Unlike many single commodity ports, Mumbai Port caters to the entire range of cargo types like break bulk, project cargo, edible oil cargo, POL, coal, chemicals, automobiles, cement and fertilisers. This requires highly versatile manpower and facilities, as the variety of cargo types and the ever-changing packaging pose a challenge to achieving efficient, cost-effective and safe handling.
The Port enjoys the status of the most preferred port for handling project cargo. Over-dimensional packages, infrastructure equipment, high-capacity cranes in transit and other heavy machinery regularly move through Mumbai Port. Besides, it continues to be the number one cruise port in India, with around 60 international cruise calls, the Chairman highlighted.
Its users have continued to repose confidence in Mumbai Port, resulting in higher volumes/revenue, enabling the Port to be a leading contributor to the national and international trade and economy, Mr Gupta stressed.