Dighi Port Receives Nod For Bauxite Export Operations

Mumbai, December 24: | Updated: Dec 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Dighi port has commenced its operations with the calling of the first vessel at its berth for carrying 60,000 tonne of bauxite. The port, having received one-time permission from the customs authority for the export of bauxite, expects another vessel to call in January 2003, Balaji Leasing & Industries director Vishal Kalantri said.

Dighi along with Revas are the two minor ports for which the Maharashtra government had entered into a concessional agreement. Balaji Leasing had entered into a concession agreement with Maharashtra Maritime Board in March early this year on BOOT basis for a period of 50 years. Dighi port is located on the South Western shore of the Rajpuri creek inlet, district Raigad, at a distance of 200 kms by road from Mumbai.

The port stands to gain in terms of dry bulk trade as the adjacent JN port had decided to convert its dry-bulk terminal into a container terminal, sources said.

The total outlay envisaged for Dighi has been divided into two phases. The total capital outlay for Phase I is estimated to be Rs 300 crore which shall mainly be spent on dredging and reclamation, building of another multi-purpose jetty and other support infrastructure facilities for the site for facilitation of movement of cargo. Phase II shall entail a larger capital outlay of about Rs 1,200 crore. A Singapore-based bulk and crude carrier alongwith Ashapura Minechem a port user for exporting bauxite are keen to pick up an equity stake in the project, Mr Kalantri said. The financial closure of the project is expected by 2004 end , he added. The envisaged traffic to be handled at Dighi port is estimated to be four million tonne per annum by 2003, increasing to 5.5 million tonne per annum till 2005 and 7.5 million tonne per annum subsequently. The cargo would comprise bulk, break bulk, liquid, LPG/LNG and containers. Mr Kalantri claims that the port has certain distinct locational advantages because of the surrounding hills and headlands providing it a natural breakwater resulting in a substantial saving in terms of upfront capital expenditure required to build such infrastructure.