Essar Ports has commissioned its delayed dry bulk terminal in Salaya in Gujarat, which has a capacity of 20 million metric tonnes per annum, or MMTPA. With this Rs 1,500-crore facility, the company's total tonnage handling capacity will increase to 140 MMTPA, its CEO Rajiv Agarwal told ET.
The Salaya terminal has been delayed for the past two years or so, because of pending environmental clearances. The other projects still in the works are a 16-MMTPA iron ore berth at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, an 18-MTPA coal terminal at Paradip in Odisha and a 20-MMTPA general cargo terminal at Hazira in Gujarat.
Essar currently has a 58-MMTPA liquid terminal at Vadinar, a 30-MMTPA dry bulk or general cargo terminal at Hazira, a 16-MMTPA dry bulk terminal at Paradip and a 16-MMTPA iron ore berth at Vizag.
Completion of the pending projects will take its total tonnage capacity up to 194 MMTPA.
Agarwal dismissed speculation over Essar's plans to sell some of its port assets to partly reduce group debt of more than Rs.60,000 crore. Names, including the Adani Group and Gujarat Pipavav, were doing the rounds as potential buyers. “There is no such proposal currently ,“ he said.
Essar's latest commissioned project is the first deep-draft terminal in the Saurashtra region and is designed to accommodate capsized vessels, Agarwal said. Its stockyard is integrated with nearby power plants that have a cumulative capacity of 1,710 MW capacity. More than 85% of Essar Ports' operations are for captive use.
The company has nonetheless commissioned a bulk terminal at a time when global freight rates are at historic lows, because of lower industrial demand and excessive supply. In an interview to ET, Gujarat Pipavav managing director Keld Pedersen said the bulk segment was “definitely in a challenging situation“.