The Kolkata port on Thursday said an Expression of Interest (EoI) for the country’s first mega container transhipment port at Galathea Bay in Great Nicobar Islands is expected to be floated by January-end, a senior official said.

There is no large container transhipment port in India and all international container cargo has to go to Colombo, Singapore and Port Klang in Malaysia.

“This Rs 17,000 crore port will help transhipment of cargo from the entire east coast of India as well as from Bangladesh and Myanmar,” P L Haranadh, Chairman of Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port, Kolkata (SMPK), formerly Kolkata Port Trust, said here.

Union Minister of State for Port and Shipping Shantanu Thakur paid a visit to Andaman and Nicobar Island recently to preview development activities planned for the islanders with port-related infrastructure.

Haranadh said, “The government is planning to build a container transhipment port at the southernmost tip of Andaman and Nicobar Islands at Galathea Bay. SMPK will float an EoI from interested investors by the end of January.”

The transhipment port would enable big ships to anchor and raise India’s share in maritime trade, create new job opportunities and save a lot of forex, officials stated.

“The EoI will help us seek their feedback from global port operators, maritime service majors and shipping liners. After this process, a detailed Detailed Project report will be prepared for the project for seeking bids,” Haranadh told reporters after a stakeholders meeting.

SMPK Deputy Chairman A K Mehra said a draft project was sent to the Centre for approval and once that comes, EoI will be floated.

In the first phase, the length of the jetty will be 1.6 kilometres and will have a capacity of 4.3 million TeUs (Tonne equivalent) containers. Later, it would be ramped up to 16 million TeUs over the years.

India has an International Container Transhipment Terminal at Kochi in Kerala but it has not taken off as expected, Mehra said adding that its scale is much lower than the proposed port in the Nicobar Islands.

Asked whether SMPK will be the executing agency for the project, officials stated that now the port has been asked to float the EoI, prepare a detailed project report and seek requests for proposals.

The natural depth available at Galathea Bay will be 20 meters. It will offer two geographical advantages — proximity to the busy east-west international shipping route that can facilitate shorter transits and greater economies of scale, along with deep natural water depths that can accommodate the latest generation of mega-ships.

Source: Economic Times