Special Correspondent

It was 34.24 million tonnes in the previous year

Iron ore export accounted for 27.33 million tonnes

PANAJI: The South Goa-based Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) handled a record cargo throughput of 35.13 million tonnes in 2007-08 as against 34.24 million tonnes in the previous year, thereby registering an increase of three per cent.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, MPT chairman Praveen Agarwal expressed satisfaction at the performance of the port and pointed out that the major share of the traffic continued to be from iron ore exports of 27.33 million tonnes constituting 78 per cent of the traffic.

Deputy Chairman Ashwini Kumar Vaishnav and Secretary N.S. Madkaikar were present.

“The introduction of a trade promotion scheme whereby ships are permitted to load by their own gears at the West of Breakwater has had the desired results,” said Mr. Agarwal. He said that despite some operational constraints, competition from nearby ports and to some extent the imposition of export levy on iron ore of over 62 per cent grade from March 2007, the traffic had registered a fair growth.

The MPT chairman exuded the confidence that the port was expected to do better and iron ore exports are likely to touch 29 million tonnes in the new fiscal, though the Goa Government has proposed to impose cess on transportation of iron ore from this financial year.

This is possible because the MPT was positioned in such a way that the iron ore in Goa was carried by barges, a system which was unique and cost-effective, unlike in other ports, he said.

Despite a record throughput, MPT’s provisional income declined to Rs. 271 crore in 2007-08 as against Rs. 276 crore in the previous fiscal, with corresponding net surplus of Rs. 32 crore as against Rs 40 crore. It was due to the offering of more concessions to the customers and spending more on expansion and modernisation, the chairman said.

Decline

While non-ore cargo showed a marginal increase, the port, however, faced a decline in cruise vessel traffic owing to its inability to provide a captive terminal for such vessels. The cruise vessel traffic at the port declined to 38 vessels with a mere 12,997 passengers.

“There were constraints in expansion plans for cruise liners and cruise vessels were unwilling to dock at the coal berth,” said Mr. Agarwal.

Expansion

Envisaging a major cargo traffic increase, MPT has drawn up ambitious plans to expand its infrastructure and augment its cargo handling facilities.

The plans include projects such as deepening the navigational channel, augmentation of capacity of its mechanical ore handling plant, construction of additional berths, three additional mooring dolphins, construction of a jetty for relocation of port crafts and small boats, rig repair facility, strengthening of breakwater mole, etc., all estimated to cost nearly Rs. 200 crore, said Mr. Agarwal.

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