Chennai Port, the third oldest port
among the 12 major ports, is an emerging hub port in the East Coast of India.
This gateway port for all cargo has completed 128 years of glorious service to
the nation’s maritime trade.
Maritime trade started
way back in 1639 on the sea shore Chennai. It was an open road -stead
and exposed sandy coast till 1815. The initial piers were built in
1861, but the storms of 1868 and 1872 made them inoperative. So
an artificial harbour was built and the operations were started in
1881.The cargo operations were carried out on the northern pier,
located on the northeastern side of Fort St. George in Chennai. In the
first couple of years the port registered traffic of 3 lakh tonnes of
cargo handling 600 ships.
Being an artificial
harbour, the port was vulnerable to the cyclones, accretion of sand
inside the basin due to underwater currents, which reduced the draft.
Sir Francis Spring a visionary skillfully drew a long-term plan to
charter the course of the port in a scientific manner, overcoming both
man-made and natural challenges. The shifting of the entrance of the
port from eastern side to the North Eastern side protected the
port to a large extent from the natural vulnerabilities. By the end of
1920 the port was equipped with a dock consisting of four berths in
the West Quays, one each in the East & South Quay along with the
transit sheds, warehouses and a marshalling yard to facilitate the
transfer of cargo from land to sea and vice versa. Additional berths
were added with a berth at South Quay and another between WQ2 &
WQ3 in the forties.
India’s Independence saw the port
gathering development, momentum. The topography of the Port changed in 1964 when
the Jawahar dock with capacity to berth 6 vessels to handle Dry Bulk cargoes
such as Coal, Iron ore, Fertilizer and non hazardous liquid cargoes was carved
out on the southern side.
In tune with the international
maritime developments, the port developed the Outer Harbour, named Bharathi Dock
for handling Petroleum in 1972 and for mechanized handling of Iron Ore in 1974.
The Iron ore terminal is equipped with Mechanized ore handling plant, one of the
three such facility in the country, with a capacity of handling 8 million tonnes.
The Chennai port’s share of Iron ore export from India is 12%. The dedicated
facility for oil led to the development of oil refinery in the hinterland. This
oil terminal is capable of handling Suezmax vessels.
In 1983, the port heralded the
country’s first dedicated container terminal facility commissioned by the then
prime minister Smt.Indira Gandhi on 18th December 1983. The Port privatized this
terminal and is operated by Chennai Container Terminal Private Limited. Having
the capability of handling fourth generation vessels, the terminal is ranked in
the top 100 container ports in the world. Witnessing a phenomenal growth in
container handling year after year the port is added with the Second Container
Terminal with a capacity to handle 1.5 M TEUs to meet the demand. To cater to the
latest generation of vessels and to exploit the steep increase in containerized
cargo the port is planning to welcome the future with a Mega Container Terminal,
capable of handling 5 Million TEUs expected to be operational from 2013.
The Chennai port is one among the
major ports having Terminal Shunting Yard and running their own Railway
operations inside the harbour on the East Coast. The port is having railway
lines running up to 68 kms and handles 25% of the total volume of the cargo,
4360 rakes (239412 wagons) during 2009-10.
The port with three Docks, 24
berths and draft ranging from 12m to 16.5m has become a hub port for Containers,
Cars and Project Cargo in the East Coast. The port has handled an all time high
of 61.06 Million tonnes of cargo registering an increase of 6.2% over previous
year. An increase of 10.14% in handling of cars from 273917 Units in the year
2009-10 when compared with 248697 Units in the year 2008-09 and an increase of
6.39% in handling of containers from 1143373 TEUs in the year 2008-09 to 1216438 TEUs in the year 2009-10. The long term plan for Chennai
Port envisages that the Port will mainly handle 4C’s i.e. Containers, Cars,
Cruise and Clean Cargo.
||Master plan for Port Railway, Realigning Rail
and Road network.
||Dedicated Elevated Expressway from Chennai
Port to Maduravoyal upto NH4 has been approved by the Government
to enhance the hinterland connectivity.
||Development of Ro-Ro Terminal and a Multi
level car parking facility with a capacity of 5000 cars.
||Chennai Mega Container Terminal with a
continuous quay length of 2 km with 18-22m side along draft.
Capable of handling ultra large container ships carrying over
|| The break water extension from existing outer
arm will be utilized to develop deep draft oil berth for