“Haldia has one of the best rail connectivity”

Q How has been the performance of Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) in the current year in comparison to previous year?

HDC has been doing very well in the current year, and has handled 18.72 per cent more cargo as compared to previous year. While between April and July in previous financial year, the port handled a cargo volume of 10.96 million tones whereas in the corresponding year the cargo increased to 13.01 million tones, and the highest growth has been recorded in containerized cargo with 46 per cent in terms of teus and 83 per cent in tonnage terms. Most of the principal cargo has registered growth except non-coking coal.

 Q What are the principal cargoes handled at the port, and which are the major hinterland for the port? Primary commodities for the port are POL, vegetable oil, and liquid chemicals, and dry bulk cargo including coking and non-coking coal, thermal coal, metallurgical coke, manganese ore, iron ore, iron ore fines, containers and break bulk. Haldia is the gateway port for a large hinterland, which includes Jharkhand, Bihar, some parts of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim and other states of north east, and landlocked countries Nepal and Bhutan. Due to which vessel calls has increased, and 109 more vessels anchored at the port in the year as compared to previous year.

 Major industries in the vicinity are power plants, and five vegetable oil processing units. Apart from which there are petroleum refineries by HPCL and Indian Oil, but the crude oil lands at Paradip Port, and transported by pipe. The finished products are shipped through Haldia Port. Due to the restriction on coal import, the cargo volume has been affected. Meanwhile, coastal coal movement has increased, and it has increased by 26 per cent to touch 6.63 million tones as compared to 5.24 million tonne in the previous year.

 Q Which is the preferred port by traders among Kolkata and Haldia, and why?

 There has been time restriction imposed by local authorities on cargo movement by road from Kolkata Port for the ease of city traffic. As Kolkata is a bustling city, the time restriction on cargo movement will further become stringent as a result it will affect cargo movement through the port. The time restriction has resulted in fall in containerized cargo movement at Kolkata while it has increased at Haldia. Additionally, tariffs offered at Haldia are less in comparison to Kolkata.

 But there has been synchronization between the two ports in terms cargo handled at either of the ports depending upon the advantages of respective ports. Haldia being away from major human habitat, has no restriction on cargo movement and the port is also connected well to state and national highways, apart from railways. Haldia has the advantage of a very well connected railway network, which is one of the major draws for the port to attract users. A new container feeder service, SSL Visakhapatnam has started, apart from couple of coastal vessel calls. There is no transshipment from the port, but a contract has been given to Jindal for transloading, but the service has not been feasible as the tariff offered by the service provider has not been viable for shippers.