Kamarajar Port, formerly known as Ennore Port, is located approximately 20km north of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India. It has terminals handling coal, LNG, containers and multi-purpose cargo. The port is owned by Chennai Port Trust, which also operates the Port of Chennai. The two ports operate in tandem, with the Port of Chennai handling "clean" cargo and the Kamarajar Port handling "dirty" cargo, including coal.
The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) is the port's primary coal importer, operating two coal berths with a combined annual capacity of 16 million tonnes. The port also hosts a "Common User" coal berth for non-TANGEDCO customers, operated by JSW Infrastructure, with an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes (upgraded from 8 million tonnes).
TANGEDCO's expansion plans call for construction of two additional 9 million tonne berths (TANGEDCO berths 3 and 4) with a planned completion date of 2018. As of August 2021, berths 3 and 4 were not yet operational. The port also considered converting its existing iron ore terminal into a coal import receiving facility, with 12 million tonnes of capacity per year, but those plans have stalled for financial reasons.
Coal is the main cargo shipped through Kamarajar Port. Out of the 30.25 million tonnes of cargo the port handled in fiscal 2014-15, 24 million tonnes or 80 percent was thermal coal. In 2015-16, the port handled 25.61 million tonnes of coal, and in 2016-17 the volume was 23.10 million tonnes. Coal volumes have declined since 2017, falling to 22.71 million tonnes in 2020 and 16.41 million tonnes in 2021.
Ennore Port was originally conceived as a satellite to Port of Chennai, primarily to handle thermal coal to meet the requirement of what is now the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) and was endowed with large chunks of land (about 2,000 acres). The scope was expanded taking into account subsequent developments such as the plan of Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a 1,880 mW LNG power project in association with a private consortium, a large petrochemical park and a naphtha cracker plant.
Ennore Port was commissioned by the then Prime Minister of India on February 1, 2001. The port was set up under the Companies Act, keeping it outside the scope of the Tariff Authority for Major Ports, the tariff regulator for 11 of the 12 ports owned by the Indian government. The port was declared as a major port under the Indian Ports Act, 1908 in March 1999 and incorporated as the Ennore Port Limited under the Companies Act, 1956 in October 1999. Commercial operations commenced with Handymax geared vessels for unloading of thermal coal on June 22, 2001. With the deployment of self-unloading and gearless vessels of 65,000/77,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT), full-fledged operations were started in December 2002.
In May 2011, citing pollution concerns, the Madras high court ordered that all handling of coal, iron ore, and similar cargo at the nearby Port of Chennai be transferred to Ennore Port effective October 1, 2011.
Most of the coal imported through Ennore Port comes from Indonesia, according to a 2012 Coal Age report on Indian coal terminals. "The port has two coal berths capable of handling Panamax vessels in 13.5 m of water."
Ennore Port was renamed Kamarajar Port Ltd in February 2014.
JSW infrastructure acquired ownership of the port's 10 million tonne per year "Common User" port in 2020, for a purchase price of ₹10 billion (approximately US$134 million).
TANGEDCO consumes approximately 16 million tonnes of coal a year for its existing coal-fired power stations in India. Mahanadi Coalfields and Eastern Coalfields supply 13.5 million tonnes of coal per annum, with the remainder mainly imported from Indonesia. The coal is transported by rail from the coal mines to the loading ports namely Haldia, Paradip and Vizag and discharged at Ennore Port and Tuticorin Port. At Ennore port coal is either transported to North Chennai Thermal Power Station via a conveyor system or loaded into rail wagons for carriage to the Mettur Thermal Power Station and Ennore Thermal Power Station.
Berths two, three, and four
For the first nine months of 2013, TANGEDCO imported a total of 10.32 million tonnes of coal at its two berths in Ennore Port, compared to 6.48 million tonnes during the same period in 2012. In response to growing demand, TANGEDCO announced plans to 1.) expand annual capacity at its second berth from four to eight million tonnes by mid-2014, and 2.) construct a third coal berth with an annual capacity of 9 million tonnes. The projected completion date of the two projects was to be 2016. In January 2015 it was reported that berth 2 had a capacity of eight million tonnes, and construction on the proposed berth 3 would begin soon.
In July 2014 the New Indian Express reported that the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) had asked Kamarajar Port to increase coal handling capacity to 34 million tonnes by 2019. TNEB’s request for additional import capacity comes as a result of lagging domestic coal supply coupled with increased demand from Tamil Nadu coal projects, including the new Udangudi and Kattupali coal plants and the Ennore Expansion Thermal Power Project.
By 2017, expansion plans had been ramped up even further, with Kamarajar Port set to become India's fifth largest port by 2020. A fourth coal berth, identical in size to berth 3 (9 mtpa), was under construction, along with new terminals for containers, automobiles, and LNG. Dredging was also underway to deepen the port's channel to 18 meters, allowing for the servicing of cape size vessels. These new investments are projected to increase Kamarajar's cargo handling capacity from 32 to 86 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2020, at a cost of ₹73 billion (just over US$1 billion).
Construction on berths 3 & 4 was reported as completed in November 2017 and April 2018, but at that time the berths were not yet operational. Kamarajar Port Ltd (KPL) handed the berths over to TANGEDCO.
In an April 2020 interview, the chairman of Kamarajar Port stated that berths 3 and 4 were expected to be completed by 2021. KPL had spent almost ₹6 billion (approximately US$80 million) on building jetties and capital dredging, while Tangedco had spent ₹4.5 billion (US$60 million) for coal berth terminals 3 & 4.
KPL's 2020-2021 Annual Report, released in August 2021, states that mechanization of the berths remains in progress.
Conversion of iron ore terminal
Kamarajar's iron ore terminal was originally designed to handle volumes of 12 mtpa; however, construction was halted midway through the project in response to a ban on iron ore exports, leaving the terminal with a reduced capacity of 6 mtpa. In June 2015 Kamarajar Port invited proposals for conversion of its existing iron ore terminal into a coal import receiving facility, with the successful bidder required to invest 580 crore in the project. As of early 2018, conversion was underway and scheduled for completion in 2019.
Sical Group Ltd. was awarded the contract for converting the iron ore terminal. However, Sical Group went bankrupt in 2021, forcing Kamarajar Port to cancel the contract. It is expected that the port will seek new tenders for the iron ore terminal conversion.
- Operator: TANGEDCO (Berths 1-4), JSW Infrastructure (Common User Berth)
- Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
- Existing Capacity (million tonnes per annum): 26 (Berth 1: 8 mtpa, Berth 2: 8 mtpa (upgraded from 4 mtpa), Common User Berth: 10 mtpa (upgraded from 8 mtpa)
- Additional Proposed Capacity (mtpa): 24 (proposed Berths 3 & 4 of 9 mtpa each, conversion of 6 mtpa terminal from iron ore to coal)
- Status: Berths 3 & 4: Construction; Iron to Coal Berth: Announced
- Projected in service:
- Coal source: Indonesia
- Cost of expansion:
- Financing for expansion:
Articles and Resources
- N Anand, Chennai Port acquires majority stake in Kamarajar Port, The Hindu, Mar. 27, 2020
- "The Coal Terminals of India ", Coal Age, April 30, 2012.
- In ₹1,000-crore deal, JSW Infra to acquire Chettinad Builders, Business Line, Aug. 14, 2020
- "Corporate Plan 2017-18", Kamarajar Port Limited, 2017.
- "Kamarajar Port starts work on construction of 3 coal berths", The Hindu, July 5, 2017.
- Kamarajar Port scraps contract given to Sical Iron Ore Terminals, Business Line, July 26, 2021
- "India's Ennore port to get container terminal", JOC.com, February 11, 2016.
- "Coal Handling Capacity at Kamarajar Port", Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Shipping, July 31, 2017.
- Cargo Handled, Kamarajar Port Ltd., Accessed Oct. 2021
- Ennore port plans to raise Rs 400 crore
- "Shift coal handling to Ennore, HC tells port" The Times of India, May 12, 2011.
- N Ravi Kumar, Ennore Port renamed as Kamarajar Port Ltd, The Hindu, Feb. 26, 2014
- TANGEDCO, "Arrangement of coal to meet the requirement of the thermal power stations of TANGEDCO", TANGEDCO website, accessed December 2011.
- "Ennore Port goes for third coal berth", The Hindu, January 1, 2014.
- "Ennore Port: On a revival mode", Infrastructure Today report, March 2014.
- "EOI for development of Bulk Terminal on Captive user basis," Kamarajar Port Limited, January 2015
- "TANGEDCO’s Coal Imports Likely to Go Up by 60%", The New Indian Express, July 26, 2014.
- "Rs 7,300 cr investment set to propel Kamarajar Port into India’s top ports list by 2020", Financial Express, May 22, 2017.
- Construction completed and not yet operational, Kamarajar Port Ltd., Accessed Oct. 2021
- N Anand, Kamarajar Port to boost cargo capacity, The Hindu, Apr. 4, 2020
- Annual Report 2020-2021, Kamarajar Port Ltd, August 2021, p. 20
- "India's Kamarajar port seeks to convert iron ore terminal to receive coal," Platts, 24 June 2015
- "Kamarajar Port: iron-ore terminal to be modified for handling coal," The Hindu, July 31, 2015