The New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) has planned to build a container terminal on build-own-transfer (BOT) basis considering the growth in container traffic in the last four years.

An NMPT press release issued here on Thursday said quoting its Chairman P. Tamilvanan that the proposed terminal will further boost the container traffic at the NMPT “since a lot of containerised cargo from the hinterland of Karnataka could be tapped.” He said traffic has been growing steadily.

The NMPT sources said it has invited global bidding for the establishment of the 300-metre terminal with space to accommodate 2 lakh TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). The project is expected to cost Rs. 260 crore. It will be provided with two rail-mounted cranes, four gantry cranes and two reach stackers. Eleven companies have responded already and a pre-bid conference has been conducted to clarify their doubts regarding the project, sources added.

The port has improved its performance with regard to cargo handling in the first five months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year. The port handled 15.23 million tonnes of cargo during the current year 2009-10 (up to August 2009) as against 15.09 million tonnes handled in the previous year. It said there was growth in the handling of petroleum products, LPG, iron ore, fertilizer, limestone, containerised cargo, etc.

The container traffic has significantly increased to 13,644 TEUs during the period from 12,176 TEUs handled during the corresponding period of last year. The port’s container traffic in the whole of 2007-08 was 11,011 TEUs. It went up to 14,483 TEUs in 2008-09, according to the NMPT sources.

It may be noted that there have been high-level discussions in the recent past regarding establishment of a container depot at Hassan to help pooling of container cargo from the hinterland at the town and onward movement to the NMPT. The Container Corporation of India had even announced rail freight rates for the containers movement from Hassan to the NMPT.

The press release added that almost all the roads inside the port have either been concretised or strengthened so that there was free flow of traffic even during the current monsoon period. Recently the port has rationalised the deployment of cargo handling labourers. This has led to an average reduction of 33 per cent in labour deployment. This reduction will also help the port to be more competitive in terms of handling charges. All these factors may contribute to the growth of traffic at the port in the coming months, the release added.

Meanwhile, the release said that the NMPT employees have been given bonus of Rs. 8,055 each for the financial year 2008-09. The Ministry of Shipping has declared 19.18 per cent bonus for the financial year 2008-2009 to the workers, ministerial staff and officers of major ports. Accordingly, the NMPT has paid the bonus to its employees on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi.