BERHAMPUR: The Gopalpur port in Odisha was re-commissioned as an all-weather berthing port on Saturday.
Addressing the gathering, Odisha Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi said it was envisioned to increase the number of ports on Odisha coast to 13 in the near future. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Managing Director of the Gopalpur Ports Limited (GPL) Mahimananda Mishra, Berhampur MP S. Mohapatra, MLAs of Chatrapur, Berhampur, Khallikote and Jeypore.
The cargo handing operation at this port would continue from the single berth that is complete. Along with cargo handling, the construction work of the port would also continue. In 2016, two more berths would be added to the port. The second berth is expected to be ready by March 2016, while the third one is scheduled to become operational in December 2016. By December next year, the Gopalpur port is expected to have cargo ship handling capacity of around 80,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT), GPL sources said. The target of GPL is to have 19 berths in the port in future.
A Sri Lankan cargo ship named ‘MV SH Grace’ has berthed in Gopalpur port now. This vessel would transport around 20,000 tonnes of illuminate cargo of the Odisha Sands Complex (OSCOM) situated near the port in Ganjam district to China. The OSCOM happens to be a unit of the Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL). According to GPL sources, two other cargo ships are also lined up for berthing at this port. One of them would reach the Gopalpur port with imported fertilizer while the other would be meant for transportation of produce of Jayashree Chemicals. Apart from the existing eight godowns with a capacity to accommodate 20,000 tonnes of cargo, some additional godowns with capacity to store 12,000 tonnes of cargo have been added up. A fertilizer bagging plant on the port premises is also complete.
In 1987, the Odisha government had established the Gopalpur port as a seasonal anchorage port. In 2006, the State government had entered into a MoU with GPL and handed over the port to the company for port’s expansion and management.
The GPL was to take over the Gopalpur port and develop it into a major all weather port on build-operate-own-share-transfer basis. The Phailin cyclone of Oct 12, 2013, had become a major stumbling block in the development of the port. Because of this cyclone cargo handling operation had been completely stopped at this port, which has again resumed.