To offset the revenue loss incurred following the ban on handling dusty cargoes such as coal and iron ore, the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) has identified five projects with an investment of Rs.935 crore. Besides, it will appoint a consultant to see how these berths could be put to efficient use, said its Chairman Atulya Misra on Friday.

After the Madras High Court banned the dusty cargoes in October 2011, the Port lost 15 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore and coal to neighbouring ports worth Rs.50 crore. Last year, ChPT handled 3.19 million tonnes of coal and 1 lakh tonnes of iron ore.

Releasing the annual results of ChPT for 2012-13, he said it was difficult to say at this moment whether they would be allowed to handle dusty cargoes once again. At present, there was no plan either to handle it or to augment the facilities, unless and otherwise there was a direction from the Supreme Court to do it.

“Today, we can call ourselves a green port, as we are handling 80 per cent of clean cargo. The rest are cars, bulk cargo, break bulk cargo and granite. The coal berth is in good condition and it will be used for some other scheme. However, our consultant will tell us how it can be used effectively,” he said.

Till recently, Jawahar Dock was handling coal and Bharathi Dock, iron ore.

Out of the 450 people engaged in iron ore handling section, 280 were deployed to other departments, 80 availed themselves of the Special Voluntary Retirement Scheme and the rest are used for maintaining the facilities.

As per the proposed plan, ChPT plans to develop Jawahar Dock at a cost of Rs.250 crore to augment its capacity to 2 MT; dry dock at Rs.300 crore (3 MT); Bharathi Dock at Rs.275 crore (5 MT); purchasing harbour mobile crane and other equipment at Rs.70 crore (5 MT) and RoRo car parking facility at Rs.40 crore (1.2 MT).

“Despite the loss, we managed to stay afloat by handling value added cargoes. There was limited opportunity to post profit. We also invested heavily in infrastructure projects and the surplus got diminished. Besides, there was worldwide recession. We ended the year with operating profit of Rs.42 crore and a net surplus of Rs.15 crore on an operating income of Rs.614 crore (Rs.627 crore) due to operational efficiency and cost cutting measures,” he said.

Claiming that CHPT was the second largest container ports among the major ports in the country, Mr. Misra said the port handled 1.54 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of containers against 1.56 million TEUs for the corresponding period last year; total tonnage was 53.40 MT (55.71 MT), car exports 2.72 lakh (2.52 lakh). For the current year, a target of 60 MT has been fixed.

“The second half of 2013 will see inauguration of Tiruvottiyur Parking Yard, Rajiv Gandhi dry dock, Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project and barge handling facility between Ennore port and ChPT,” he said.