Kattupalli Port

From Global Energy Monitor

Kattupalli Port is a large shipyard/port project in Tamil Nadu, India. It was built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in 2013.

In 2015 Adani Group took over the cranes and cargo-handling equipment and fully acquired the port in 2018. It has proposed a massive expansion of the Kattupalli Port, which would increase the port's total capacity from 25 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 320 mtpa, including 71 mtpa capacity for coal and 65 mtpa for crude oil and fossil gas.[1]


The port is located at Kattupalli village near Ennore of Chennai.

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In September 2015 Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) of Adani Group agreed to take over operation and management (O&M) of the Kattupalli port from Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T). L&T will continue to run the shipyard, while APSEZ would take over the cranes and other cargo-handling equipment. APSEZ also said it plans to add a 20 million tonne (mt) capacity coal terminal at the port. Live Mint said the deal suggests APSEZ has lost interest in talks for buying the Gangavaram Port in Andhra Pradesh.[2] Adani ultimately purchased Gangavaram Port in 2021.

In October 2017, Adani obtained final statutory and regulatory clearances for its acquisition of the port from L&T. Since the deal was first announced in 2015, Adani has focused its development efforts on containers, with container volumes rising from 7,900 TEUs a month in November 2015 to over 35,000 TEUs per month in FY17. Press reports indicate that APSEZ plans to transform Kattupalli into a multi-commodity port capable of handling 24.65 million tonnes (mt) of cargo, with an emphasis on containers and automobiles.[3] Adani's website notes that container volume in FY 2016-17 was 348,000 TEUs, an increase of 205% over the FY 2015/16 figure of 115,227 TEUs. As of February 2018, the Adani website also characterizes Kattupalli Port as a "preferred gateway port" for automobiles, but does not include Kattupalli on its map of Indian coal ports.[4]

Adani completed its acquisition of the Kattupalli Port in June 2018.[5] Adani paid ₹1,950 crore (approximately US$259 million) for the port.[6] Adani's 2021 annual report lists 18 mtpa of capacity for Kattupalli Port, including a berth for dry bulk cargo.[7]

Expansion Plans

In July 2018, one month after acquiring the Kattupalli Port, Adani filed a revised master plan with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to expand the Kattupalli Port to a total capacity of 259 mtpa. At that time, the port had two berths that handled containers, bulk and break-bulk cargoes, and automotive vehicles, with a third berth under construction.[8] The plan quickly faced opposition; villagers in 45 nearby villages feared that their livelihood would be disrupted due to environmental destruction from the port facilities.[9]

By January 2021, the proposal had been increased, with Adani now planning to expand the port to 320 mtpa, with 71 mtpa of capacity for coal. At this time, India's total combined capacity of all ports was around 1000 mtpa. If fully expanded, Kattupalli Port would be larger than all other ports in Tamil Nadu combined - 320 mtpa compared to 275 mtpa for the rest of Tamil Nadu. Total cargo handled at Tamil Nadu Ports in 2019-2020 (before the COVID-19 lockdown) was a meagre 114.9 MTPA, meaning that 55% of existing capacity is lying idle. Adani was planning a total investment of ₹53,400 crore (approximately US$7 billion).[1]

Adani's expansion proposal prompted significant backlash from local communities. A public hearing on the proposal was originally planned for January 2021 (at a site 20 km away from the impacted villages), but the hearing was cancelled due to public outrage.[10] By June 2021, that public hearing had still not occurred.[11] Opponents of the project cite violation environmental protection laws, a risk of industrial accidents, pollution, and disruption of the livelihoods of local fishermen as reasons why the port expansion should not proceed.[1][10] The controversial project is expected to erode the northern part of the coast at an alarming rate of 16 metres per year, and will impact birdlife and marine diversity. The construction site is just 2.1 km away from Pulicat Wildlife Sanctuary, even though the law bars ports within 10 km of a sanctuary.[11]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Adani Group
  • Location: Kattupalli village, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes per annum): 18 million (all cargo)
  • Proposed Capacity (Tonnes per annum): 320 million (all cargo); 71 million (coal)
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Imports
  • Projected in service:
  • Cost of expansion: ₹53,400 crore (approximately US$7 billion)
  • Financing for expansion:
  • Coal Source:

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