The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for renaming Ennore Port Ltd (EPL) after freedom fighter and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Kamaraj.

This is the second port to be renamed by the Shipping Ministry headed by G.K. Vasan after freedom fighters in recent times, the first one being V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin, in February 2011.

Some of the landmarks that bear Kamaraj’s name are Chennai airport’s domestic terminal, the city’s beach road — now called as Kamarajar Salai, an auditorium on Anna Salai, Kamaraj’s house on T. Nagar, Madurai Kamaraj University and a road in Bangalore.

Sources in the Shipping Ministry said the decision to rename EPL as ‘Kamarajar Port Limited’ was taken after getting representations from various people. “He was unquestionable leader, freedom fighter, kingmaker and guide to youngsters. It is surprising that the Cabinet cleared it within seven days,” an official said.

EPL, the first corporatised major port in the country, was incorporated in October 1999. Unloading of thermal coal marked the commencement of commercial operations in June 2001. Though coal happens to be the major commodity, EPL also handles liquid cargo, bulk cargo, cars and other commodities. In the last 12 years, EPL has emerged as an alternative port to the Chennai Port Trust.

From April to January 2014, EPL handled 22.46 million tonnes of cargo against its target of 24 million tonnes, registering highest growth rate among the Indian ports. Last year, EPL handled 17.89 million tonnes.

An EPL official said, “The name change was approved by our board recently. After getting the Cabinet note, we will approach the Registrar of Companies for name change. Apart from the name, there will not be any significant change in the structure or operating style.”