CHENNAI : The Union Environment Ministry gave one-year extension for Chennai Port Trust for development and improvement of seven facilities at the port premises, including construction of multi-level car park (5,000 cars) to facilitate auto manufacturers to park their export consignments.The Chennai Port is the second largest in the country in terms of cargo handled. This gateway port for all cargo has completed 130 years of service to the nation’s maritime trade.
However, after the Madras High Court banned the port from handling dusty cargo, including coal and iron ore, the port has shifted its focus to handling environmentally clean cargo such as containers and automobiles, which are to be exported, for which creation of new infrastructure and improvement of facilities are essential.
The terms of reference (ToR) granted earlier in 2016 expired on February 2 and the port’s chief engineer wrote to the ministry, seeking extension of the validity of the ToR for one year for further processing of environmental clearance (EC) and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.Reliable port sources confirmed to Express that the extension was granted on March 7. “Public hearing on these projects was conducted on April 24, 2018 and an application seeking recommendation of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority was submitted on August 9, 2018 and is under consideration,” port officials said.
The port has 24 berths spread over three docks - Ambedkar Dock, Jawahar Dock and Bharathi Dock. As per its business plan (master plan), the port proposes to modernise the existing Jawahar Dock (East) berth and Bharathi Dock-II berth for handling bulk cargo, besides relocating existing sand trap and dredging.
The new projects proposed are development of multi-level car park (ground-plus 5 floors) and coastal terminal at northern sheltering arm in east of Bharathi Dock, which will accommodate coastal shipping vessels having drafts up to 8 metres. A dry dock facility in the boat basin/timber pond area is proposed to suit the navigational needs of port craft.