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Dighi Port in talks with IPCL to handle shipments

Dighi port

Dighi Port, the first non- major private sector seaport in Maharashtra, is in discussions with Mukesh Ambani–run IPCL
Dighi portDighi (Maha): Dighi Port, the first non- major private sector seaport in Maharashtra, is in discussions with Mukesh Ambani–run IPCL to handle ethylene shipment, which is being currently managed from the JNPT near Mumbai.

“We are in negotiations with Reliance Industries logistics partner Aegis to handle its subsidiary Indian Petrochemicals’ (IPCL) ethylene shipments at our facility.

“If it works out this will majorly boost our volumes which crossed 1.1 million in FY14,” Vijay Kalantri, Chairman and Managing Director of Balaji Infra Projects, the holding company of Dighi Port, told during a visit to the facility in Raigad district over the weekend.

The Rs 2,500-crore first phase of Dighi Port is being developed by Balaji Infra in partnership with IL&FS and state Maritime Board. Balaji Infra holds 69 per cent stake in the proejct and IL&FS 21 pe rcent, while the remaining is with Maritime Board, which has not invested anything so far.

The company has raised Rs 1,300 crore debt till date and the work on the second berth is progressing well.

When fully developed by 2020 in two phases with a total investment of Rs 5,500 crore, the Port will have a capacity of over 70 million tonne per annum with 15 berths.

The 30-mt first phase is slated to be completed by 2015 with five berths, two on the south bank and the rest on the north bank, Kalantri said.

The south bank facility will cater to non-clean cargo like coal, bauxite, LNG and crude oil, while the northern berths will handle clean cargo, he said.

The project has all clearances in place up to the second phase, while some approvals are pending for the 35-km, Rs 800- crore rail link to Roha (on Konkan route) that will connect the port with the main railroad heads, Captain B R Pathak, President (operations), said.

As of now, the Port, located on the banks of Rajapuri Creek in Raigad, over 150 km from Mumbai, has one operational berth with a keel-length of 650 meters that can accommodate three large ships, including the Panamax types, at a time.

The Port currently has 8-10 customers, including Posco Steel, which is its largest client importing steel coils, and coal and bauxite traders.

Kalantri said the Port has commitments from Uttam Galva Steel from next month, while talks with other steel mills like Essar and Bhushan are in advanced stage.

“I hope to rope in another 10 clients this fiscal when the new terminal on the north bank will be ready,” Kalantri said.

Kalantri said he expects to treble the volume in FY’15 on the back of improved business sentiment. The first berth was completed 14 months ago. Last fiscal, it handled 1.1 MT cargo and cumulative volume touched 4.5 MT since its partial operations began four years.

The Port, which has a 50-year concession agreement with Maharashtra Government on a build, own, operate, share & transfer (BOOST mode, comes under the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone. It will also have a 200-acre SEZ and a similar size free-trade zone in the third phase.

It has already acquired land for the SEZ for Rs 400 crore, Kalantri said.


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