With capacity of 15,000, it will be the highest in country

Encouraged by the response from leading car manufacturers for export, the Ennore Port Ltd (EPL) will create another parking facility soon to store additional 3,000 cars, said its Chairman-cum-Managing Director M.A. Bhaskarachar on Wednesday.

Currently, EPL can accommodate 10,000 cars in its parking lot and 2,000 at the general cargo berth. With this, EPL will be in a position to store about 15,000 cars in one go, which is said to be the highest parking facility in the country.

As of now, Nissan, Ford, Ashok Leyland and Toyota are using EPL as a gateway to export their cars. Gurgaon-based Honda has evinced interest to ship its car through EPL. Last year, EPL handled 1.45 lakh cars through 80 car carriers, while Chennai Port Trust exported 2.72 lakh, said another official.

Releasing the provisional results for 2012-13, Mr. Bhaskarachar told reporters that the port ended the year with a gross revenue of Rs.307.01 crore against Rs.248.96 crore in the corresponding period last year and the pre-tax profit was Rs.218.65 crore (Rs.120.78 crore).

During the year under review, EPL handled 17.89 million tonnes (MT) of cargo against 14.96 MT for the corresponding period last year, marking an increase of 19.58 per cent. A target of 21 MT has been fixed for 2013-14.

Explaining the expansion plans for the current year, he said Rs.300 crore was earmarked for development of infrastructure projects (Rs.200 crore for dredging and Rs.100 crore rail-road connectivity). The phase-II of capital dredging to increase the depth to 20 metres to handle larger vessels will be completed by July 2013. Plans are on to create a third coal berth for TANGEDCO to increase its capacity to 26 MTPA.

Regarding the container terminal, he said the technical bids will be finalised within two weeks and the project would be awarded by the third quarter. “Following requests from Japanese investors, we will also create an additional terminal to handle cars or multi-cargoes and the contract will be awarded before December.”

In its maiden attempt, EPL mobilised Rs.94.65 crore through issuance of Rs.1,000-crore tax-free bonds. The Chairman attributed the lacklustre response to weak market sentiments and low rate of return. It would float tax-free bonds once again within the next six months.

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