KoPT opts for Chinese dredgers to combat draught

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Nov 29 2008, 08:11am hrs
The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), India's second largest dock system in terms of cargo handling, has opted for Chinese dredgers in a bid to tackle the alarming draught situation, which has been hampering its operations in recent past.

KoPT has been depending solely on Dredging Corp of India (DCI) dredgers so far to maintain navigability of its shipping channnels. But, with the Sethusamudram project demanding more DCI dredgers, KoPT has to go for charter hiring.

KoPT chairman Anup Chanda, also the chairman of the Indian Port Association (IPA), said a high-level team comprising director marine and senior DCI officials had recently visited China and identified one trailer suction dredger with 3,500 cbm hopper capacity for deploying at the channels of the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC).

The dredger, according to Chanda, would be charter hired through the DCI. It is expected to be deployed in Haldia by the end of February 2009 after completion of formalities.

At present, seven dredgers are deployed in Haldia. The dredgers have been able to arrest increasing siltation. Chanda said during December, the toughest time for KoPT in terms of navigability of the Haldia shipping channels, draught is expected to be around 7 metres. This would enable the port to handle ships with parcel load higher by 400-600 tonnes than that at present and retain its last year's traffic level of 43 million tonne.

HDC handled 25.293m tonne of cargo during April-October 2008 as against 25.168m tonne in the year-ago period, officials said.