Transloading at Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) today got a boost after successful handling of a smaller capesize vessel at Sagar.
Capesize vessels are large dry cargo ships and have a capacity to handle 90,000 to 1,30,000 tonnes.
"For the first time, KoPT has entered the league to handle a capesize vessel. So far, it was handling Panamax vessels," KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar said here at the transloading site on sea.
Kolkata Dock's Deputy chairman S Balaji Arun kumar also accompanied him along with other senior officials.
Panamax ships have cargo capacity of up to 75,000 tonnes.
Today's operation has enabled the riverine port to handle almost double the cargo from a single ship compared to unloading through normal port operations.
In addition, this would ensure continuous carrying large volume of transloading activity round the year at the sagar point, which is about 25 nautical miles from Haldia.
The baby cape vessel has brought 54,000 tonnes of coal from Indonesia for two corporate importers and entire cargo will be transloaded by two mobile cargo cranes.
KoPT has engaged a private operator for the transloading activity that involved two floating cranes and one floating jetty outside the lockgate of Haldia involving an investment of about Rs 170 crore.
Importers prefer cargo movement from Haldia due to faster and better rail connectivity, an official from the transloading service provider of the port said.
KoPT said post monsoon target is to handle full cargo cape size ship transloading at sandheads which is 40 nautical miles deep into sea from Sagar.
During the remaining six months, transloading is not possible at sandheads due to rough sea.
"Currently, most of the ships unload two-thirds of cargo at Paradip and one third at Haldia. But, under this trial with the baby cape size vessel, now two third of cargo has come to Kolkata port. Target is to offload entire cargo at KoPT at least during November - March period of the year, " Kumar said.
He laid great emphasis to transloading as it can rake up cargo handling overcoming perennial draft issues that restrict larger vessels from entering the port jetties.
The rated capacity of transloading operation is of three million tonne of additional cargo for the port but the private operator said it can handle up to four million tonne cargo giving direct revenue boost to KoPT.
KoPT handled highest traffic of 57.88 million tonne of cargo in the last fiscal that pushed the port's operating surplus (excluding dredging) to Rs 838.05 crore from Rs 659.27 crore in 2016-17, recording a rise of 27.12 per cent.