Signs deal with Cochin Shipyard to revive ship repairing facilities

The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) plans to monetise nearly 2,000 acres out of its 6,400-acre land holding at the Haldia Dock complex as consultant firm IL&FS is likely to submit a report on the land-use potential by the month end.

“We are currently operating from 1,000 acres. We would like to keep some land for future expansion. In all, we might be having 2,000 acres of excess land, which may be used for attracting industry,” a port official said.

However, one of the major problems for KoPT is that these 2000-odd acres are not contiguous.

“The maximum land parcel is approximately 200 acres in size,” he said.

The problem was created due to indiscriminate and piecemeal allotments in the past without any land-use plan.

As part of the way out, the port is trying to take back some unused land parcels. Also being explored is the possibility of redistributing the land to allottees who are yet to start construction.

The port has also approached the Haldia Development Authority for a common land-use plan and attract industry accordingly.

Ship-Repair Facility

KoPT has entered into a profit sharing agreement with Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), the country’s largest shipbuilding and maintenance company, to revive its ship repairing facilities.

“Of the five dry docks that KoPT has, two at Netaji Subhas Dock, in Kolkata, will be revived. The dry docks were abandoned since 2015,” said KoPT chairman, Vinit Kumar.

According to him, KoPT will provide necessary waterfront, the dry docks and land and will repair part of associated infrastructure – CSL will invest ₹25 crore for repairing and operationalising the docks. Profits will be shared in a 40-60 ratio between KoPT and CSL. “The project is likely to be completed over the next 3-4 years. Once through, at least 16-18 ships can be repaired annually using the facilities,” the KoPT chairman said.

The venture can generate revenues of ₹50 crore a year.

About the ongoing tussle with Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT), Kumar said a case is on at the International Court of Arbitration, and the hearing has been concluded.

In 2012, HBT, a cargo-handling company, promoted by India’s ABG Group and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) of France, exited Haldia alleging unsafe work conditions.

However, KoPT had objected to the abrupt termination of the 10-year contract.

Kumar said KoPT has filed damages to the tune of ₹400 crore, while HBT had claimed damages worth ₹200 crore.