With a capacity to handle 9 million tonnes per annum, it will be completed within 18 months

Sandwiched between Krishnapatnam and Karaikal ports, Ennore Port Ltd (EPL) has decided to brace the competition by going in for construction of an additional coal berth at a cost of Rs. 270 crore.

Currently, EPL has two coal berths with a capacity to handle about 12 million tonnes per annum and it would be increased to 16 million tonnes by June 2014.

About 50 per cent of coal is meant for Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. and rest for private players. EPL moves coal to power plants in Mettur, Vallur and North Chennai by four to five rakes per day. The coal berths are operated by private firms.

On the contrary, Krishnapatnam handles 16 million tonnes of coal per annum. It has four berths and coal is moved through 14 rakes per day to power and cement plants located in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

Apart from Krishnapatnam Port and EPL, Karaikal is the only other port handling about 4.5 million tonnes per annum. It is about 220km from Chennai Port.

The volume of coal is increasing in both these ports, ever since Chennai Port Trust stopped handling it about two years ago due to a ban imposed on it by the Madras High Court.

While Krishnapatnam Port has the flexibility to increase or decrease the berths for handling coal, EPL is faced with space constraint and hence it is going for constructing a new berth. The third berth will cater to the needs of power plants.

According to the sources, the new berth will have a capacity to handle nine million tonnes per annum and it will be completed within 18 months. At its recent meeting, EPL board members gave their consent for developing third coal berth. The tenders for it will be floated soon.

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