Within the next few years, the Ennore port will be transformed into a multi-purpose facility, which will handle cargo ranging from coal to cars, Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said here on Friday.

Delivering a special address at the concession-signing agreement between Ennore port officials and Bay of Bengal Gateway Terminal Private Ltd. for development of a world class container terminal, he said the port had embarked on seven projects costing Rs.6,466 crore with funding mostly from private participation.

After completion of these projects, the Ennore port would become a major one on the eastern coast and total cargo handling capacity would increase to 75 million tonnes by 2013-2014 and 90 million tonnes by 2020-2021 from the present 15 million tonnes.

The agreement was signed by Ennore port Chairman-cum-Managing Director S. Velumani and Bay of Bengal Gateway Terminal Director H.M. Michael Dekker. The Rs.1,407-crore project will be built on BOT basis through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and completed within 36 months. The concession period is 30 years.

He said it would be the first container terminal in India with a continuous quay length of 1,000 metres designed to handle the largest container ship up to the size of 14,500 TEUs and could berth three mainline vessels simultaneously. The terminal would have a handling capacity of 15 lakh TEUs of containers per annum.

He said that the coal terminal of 8 MTPA and iron ore terminal of 12 MTPA would be commissioned by the year-end. The general cargo berth, which would handle cars and general cargo, was nearing completion. Investment on these three projects worked out to Rs.990 crore.

Work on rail connectivity to link coal and iron ore stack yards with the Attipattu station was progressing. His Ministry would review the possibility of setting up a third coal terminal, as the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board had sought the Ennore port's permission to import 35 metric tonnes of coal by 2013-2014 to increase its generation capacity.

Mr. Vasan reviewed projects at the Ennore port and asked officials to implement community development projects that would benefit villages in and around the port and as well as provide jobs to youngsters in the area.

He inaugurated a newly-laid road inside the port and digital video surveillance system. K. Subhash Kumar, Chennai Port Trust Chairman, spoke.

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