Bangalore: The Aditya Birla Group is looking to set up container loading facilities for its own use by expanding a captive jetty at the Dahej port in Gujarat with an investment of about Rs.600 crore.
Dahej Harbour Infrastructure Ltd, a wholly owned unit of Birla Copper Ltd, which runs a captive cargo loading facility at Dahej port, has filed an application with the Gujarat Maritime Board seeking its permission to build a new, multi-purpose berth that can also handle containers at the jetty, at least two people familiar with the plan said.
“A lot of our cargo goes in containers; it makes sense to set up a facility that can handle containers for our own requirements,” said an Aditya Birla Group executive, one of the two people mentioned earlier.
The company executive did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. “Our plan is to add extra capacity at the captive jetty to cater to the growing demand of the group companies,” he said.
“Birla Copper has applied for permission to set up an additional berth at its captive jetty in Dahej,” said C.N. Patel, executive engineer looking after the privatization cell at Gujarat Maritime Board, the regulatory body tasked with developing ports owned by India’s north-western state. “The application is under examination.”
Aditya Birla Group could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.
The group currently ships its container cargo through the Union government-controlled Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, a few hundred miles away from the Birla Copper plant in Dahej.
The existing jetty at Dahej, designed to handle some 5 million tonnes (mt) of cargo a year, loads about 3.5 mt of copper concentrates, copper slag, coal, rock phosphate, liquid ammonia, sulphuric acid and finished copper.
The new, multi-purpose berth will be designed to handle 5-6 mt of cargo a year including containers, the Aditya Birla Group executive, mentioned earlier, said.
The executive also said that the group’s plan to build a new deep-draft port at Chudamani in Orissa’s Badrak district with an investment of Rs.1,200 crore has been delayed due to the lack of environment clearance.
The new port, mostly for in-house requirements, will be deep enough to allow the biggest of the bulk cargo-carrying ships to dock, he said.
The new port, to be developed by Essel Mining and Industries Ltd, another group company, will have a capacity to load 6 mt of cargo, mainly iron ore for exports, a year.
“The planned port will act as a gateway to Orissa and Jharkhand for Aditya Birla Group companies and reduce logistics costs and dependency on external agencies for export and import and coastal movement of cargo,” the executive said.
UltraTech Cement Ltd , another group company, will start operating a 300,000 tonne cement bagging plant at Cochin port later this year, he said.