Essar Ports, now the cargo handling division of Essar Group, is pretty much on an expansion overdrive. It has completed the phase I of its Paradip port terminal with the commissioning of the 16 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of dry bulk capacity.
The completion has put the company in a position to adequately meet iron ore demands of its external customers and the future requirements of Essar Steel, which has a 10 mmtpa steel plant in Hazira and to-be-commissioned 12 mmtpa palletisation plant at Paradip in Odisha.
This has also paved the way for the start of the second phase under which the company will be building a 14 mmtpa coal handing terminal at the site to serve its power plants across the coastal belt.
In a press statement on Monday, Rajiv Agarwal, managing director, Essar Ports, said: “This is our first project on the east coast of India and is a modern facility with best-in-class capabilities. The terminal will help achieve better handling rates, improve efficiencies with faster turn-around time for ships and would benefit the Paradip Port and its customers.”
With this project, the aggregate handling capacity of Essar Ports has touched 104 mmtpa, which the company intends to take up to 158 mmtpa in the next few years. In fact, sources said the company is mulling raising $400 million in the next few months to part retire its debt and raise capex for expansion activities, going forward.
While $300 million will be used to refinance part of its debt, the remaining will go into funding the expansion of Paradip port where the Essar unit is planning to set up a 14 million tonne per annum (mmtpa) coal terminal.
Apart from the Paradip terminal, Essar Ports has two operational ports at Hazira and Vadinar. The Hazira port is an all-weather, deep-draft port with 30 mmtpa of dry bulk and break bulk cargo handling capacity. Vadinar is also an all-weather, deep-draft port with 58 mmtpa of liquid cargo handling capacity, read the company statement.