India’s Shipping Ministry to resolve Kanika Sands Trans-shipment Zone dispute
The Dollar Business Bureau | TheDollarBiz India’s Ministry of Shipping is taking steps to resolve the long standing dispute between Odisha and the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) which will help KoPT and Haldia Port to handle more goods and also benefit the Paradip Port and Odisha government, the ministry says. Traffic handled by KoPT, at around 11.8 milion tonnes, is the lowest among all ports in India. While strategically located, KoPT faces several problems because it is a riverine port and cannot handle large vessels. Allowing KoPT to use Kanika Sands, which is off the Odisha coast, as a trans-shipment zone will help KoPt to handle more cargo and also benefit Haldia port which will in turn buttress the government’s plan to rejuvenate inland waterway system connecting Haldia with Allahabad. The Ministry of Shipping says that trans-shipment infrastructure will act as extension to major ports and enhance port capacities without incurring huge amounts of capital expenditure. “All this can be achieved with a lead time of 8-10 months, which is short and highly economical and minimizing the continuous dredging efforts to maintain the channel,” the ministry adds. In 2011, the government had extended the limits of KoPT to cover Kanika Sands, but later brought the trans-shipment zone under the purview of Paradip Port Trust (PPT) after the Odisha government cited the location of the trans-shipment zone and possible loss of revenue for ports in Odisha. The Supreme Court had said that the matter be amicably settled. The Ministry of Shipping says that it has issued directives for operationalising the Kanika sands trans-shipment zone and hopes that the dispute will be resolved to the satisfaction of all the concerned parties.