Chennai Port resumes shipping grain after 9 years
Wednesday, 09 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
CHENNAI: Chennai port has begun shipping food grain from its docks after a gap of nine years. The port, which handled nine million tonnes of coal every year for thermal power plants in the southern region, had to stop handling grain because of excessive pollution from coal dust. It has now once again begun handling grain as coal shipments have since last year been transferred to the neighbouring Ennore port north of Chennai. The docks in Chennai have been cleaned up and the first consignment of 7,000 tonnes of rice began to be loaded Tuesday on board the MV Al Mansoor. The rice is being exported to Bangladesh by the Punjab Warehousing Corporation. The harbour hopes to handle four million tonnes of food grain annually over the next few years, Chennai Port Trust chairman P. Baskaradoss told reporters. Chennai Port, which is nearly 140 years old, is modernising rapidly and is upgrading its facilities to provide repackaging and fast loading services to grain exporters, he added. "The transfer of the coal berths to Ennore has reduced the total traffic from Chennai to 33.6 million tonnes, less than last year's 36.1 million tonnes. But overall the efficiency and performance of the port has increased," the port trust chief explained.