Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL), a part of Mukesh Ambani’s business in the petroleum sector has begun discussions with Dighi Port to handle ethylene shipments which are currently handled by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Navi Mumbai. Dighi Port is located 170 kilometres from Mumbai by road and around 42 Nautical miles from Mumbai. This port in the Raigad district of Maharashtra is currently being developed by Balaji Infrastructure in partnership with IL&FS and state Maritime Board. The total estimated cost of developing this port is around Rupees 2,500 Crores.Balaji Infra holds 69 per cent stake in the project and IL&FS 21 per cent, while the remaining is with Maritime Board, which has not invested anything so far.
“We are in negotiations with Reliance Industries logistics partner Aegis to handle its subsidiary Indian Petrochemicals’ (IPCL) ethylene shipments at our facility. If it works out this will majorly boost our volumes which crossed 1.1 million in FY14,” Vijay Kalantri, Chairman and Managing Director of Balaji Infra Projects, the holding company of Dighi Port, told PTI during a visit to the facility in Raigad district over the weekend.
From the port’s perspective, things have been going very well so far. A total of Rupees 1,300 has been raised and the work on the second berth which will enable more ships to dock and increase the viability of the third port near Mumbai. When fully developed by 2020 in two phases with a total investment of Rs 5,500 crore, the Port will have a capacity of over 70 million ton per annum with 15 berths. The 30-mt first phase is slated to be completed by 2015 with five berths, two on the south bank and the rest on the north bank, Kalantri said. The South Bank facility is what is critical for industries such as Ambani’s as its stated to be the one handling coal, bauxite, LNG, CNG and crude oil.
The project has all clearances in place up to the second phase, while some approvals are pending for the 35-km, Rupees 800- crore rail link to Roha (on Konkan route) that will connect the port with the main railroad heads, Captain B R Pathak, President (operations), said. As of now, the Port, located on the banks of Rajapuri Creek in Raigad, over 150 km from Mumbai, has one operational berth with a keel-length of 650 meters that can accommodate three large ships, including the Panamax types, at a time.
One of the things working in favour of this project is that all the bureaucratic and legal hurdles have been surmounted and all that remains is for the 35 Km link from the port till Roha that will connect the port with the main railroad heads. The port has so far one operational berth with a keel-length of 650 metres that can accommodate three large ships including one Panamax ship at a time. These ships are among the largest cargo ships in the world and having a port that can cater to them would add to India’s handling capacity. Major ports in Asia such as Shanghai and Singapore can handle them and it’s great to have a port so close to Mumbai that can too.
Currently customers of the Dighi Port include Posco Steel, which is its largest client importing steel coils, and coal and bauxite traders. Kalantri said the Port has commitments from Uttam Galva Steel from next month, while talks with other steel mills like Essar and Bhushan are in advanced stage.