At one point of time, the entire Kanpur cargo had been handled by the KoPT but due to congestion the entire cargo shifted to JNPT.
The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) has gone on an overdrive to tap the Kanpur leather and brass industry so that its export consignments are handled from Kolkata rather than allowing its shipment from the Mundra port. “Both the Mundra and Kolkata ports are equi-distance from Kanpur. There is no reason, why Kanpur cargo should not be handled from Kolkata,” Vinit Kumar, chairman, KoPT, said at an interactive session organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
At one point of time, the entire Kanpur cargo had been handled by the KoPT but due to congestion the entire cargo shifted to JNPT. Later, on a bulk of Kanpur cargo moved out to the Mundra port, which once again Kolkata is trying to retrieve, the official said, adding that talks are on with various exporters of leather and brass wares, whose volumes have witnessed considerable growth in the last few years.
In fact, KoPT has lost a considerable volume of committed Indian Oil cargo for construction of the Indian Oil’s Paradip-Haldia-Barauni crude pipeline and have been trying to make it up with bulk cargo like coal. But the official said that cargoes have been continuously shifting to Paradip Vizag and other ports to whose extend the port has to plan out its marketing strategy.
While mechanising berths, constructing additional jetties, linking sea-borne cargo to inland waterways for carrying to desired destinations, transhipment on the high seas, providing land for storage facilities, and facilitating IT-enabled container tracking system continue to be the port’s focus – the unique selling point remains the port’s railway connectivity, which gives it an edge over other ports, Kumar said. But the cut-throat competition among the ports remains.
Recently, Nepal-bound cargo, which was a monopoly of the KoPT, shifted to the Vizag Port for complaints of pilferage from both railways and roadways. According to a KoPT official, KoPT handled 82,000 TEUs of container in 2017-18 but till January 2019 this container traffic came down to 58,878 TEUs, the majority of which was shifted to the Vizag Port.
Importers of Nepal have been complaining about tampering of containers to which KoPT authorities have decided to put on electronic locks. This would enable an electronic cargo tracking system, on which the Kolkata Dock System has been working on a pilot basis since February, despite protests from road transporters.
“We are implementing an electronic tracking system in both Kolkata and Haldia, and each container will be fitted with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) reader, which will enable us in creating a logistics data bank,” Kumar said. He said that the port was trying to take the best advantage of its huge land resource, which could attract port users to create facilities for storage and warehousing.