Finally, Dhamra port commissioned
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Eastern India's deepest port at Dhamra, a sleepy rural area off Bay of Bengal in Bhadrak district was commissioned on Sunday, after years of intense protests by environmental activists and groups over allegations that the port was situated on protected forest land.
Situated on north of the mouth of river Dhamra in Bhadrak district, the Rs 3,500 crore project is a 50:50 joint venture of Larsen & Toubro and Tata Steel. It has a draught of 18 meters, which can accommodate super cape-size vessels up to 1,80,000 dead weight tonnage(DWT).
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who inaugurated the port in the presence of union shipping secretary K Mohandas, said the opening of Dhamra port is an important milestone in Orissa's economic progress. "My father Biju babu had set up the Paradip port. The new port has come 50 years after Paradip. Had Biju babu been alive today, he would have been proud," said Patnaik.
Dhamra port is slated to have 13 berths when the second and final phase of construction gets over in 2014. The port, dogged by controversies handled its first vessel that offloaded around 22,000 tonne of imported coking coal for Tata Steel in September last year.
Since May this year, the port has handled 2.07 MT of imported cargo, mostly coking coal and limestone. It would export the first batch of iron ore in a couple of weeks.
Once the port achieves its full berth capacity, it would be able to handle more than 100 MT of cargo. It would have a separate container terminal, first in eastern India and an oil terminal. Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) officials said the 62 km-long single rail track from Dhamra to Bhadrak on the Howrah-Chennai line is one of the longest private electrified rail lines.