Port of Chennai

From Global Energy Monitor

Port of Chennai (Tamil: சென்னைத் துறைமுகம்), formerly known as Madras Port, is one of India's 12 major ports, and the largest port in the Bay of Bengal.

The port's handling of coal imports was suspended by a May 2011 Madras high court decision, which required that all of Chennai's coal and iron ore operations be transferred to Ennore Port. The port's website indicates that coal is no longer being handled at the port.[1]

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Project Details

  • Operator: Chennai Port Trust
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 8 million
  • Status: Coal operations suspended October 2011

2015 Update

In May 2011, citing pollution concerns, the Madras high court ordered that all handling of coal, iron ore, and similar cargo at the Port of Chennai be transferred to Ennore port effective October 1, 2011.[2] In September 2012, India's Supreme Court reversed that decision, ruling that the Port of Chennai could resume coal handling if it complied with a set of 25 court-mandated pollution control measures within two months.[3] However, in October 2012 Port of Chennai ceased its coal-handling operations and began seeking to convert its former coal berths into a container terminal.[4] In January 2014, the Madras high court issued a stay halting the port's container terminal conversion plans, in response to a hardship petition from the Tamil Nadu Power Producers Association, which claimed that Ennore port lacked sufficient capacity to handle coal from all the private coal importers that had traditionally used the Port of Chennai.[5] In September 2014, the port announced that it was dropping its plans for a container terminal in favor of a multi-cargo berth.[6] In the midst of all these developments, the Port of Chennai posted a loss for fiscal year 2013-14, and its traffic volume slipped from fifth to sixth among India's major ports.[7]

2018 Update

As of February 2018, Port of Chennai statistical reports[1] and recent press coverage[8] make it clear that coal is no longer being handled at Chennai port.


The port is over 125 years old, although maritime trade started way back in 1639 on the lcoal sea shore. It is an artificial and all-weather port with wet docks. It was a major travel port before becoming a major container port. It is a substantial reason for the economic growth of Tamil Nadu, especially for the manufacturing boom in South India, and has contributed in to the development of the city. The port with 3 docks, 24 berths and draft ranging from 12 to 16.5 m (39 to 54.1 ft) has become a hub port for containers, cars and project cargo in the east coast of India. From handling a meagre volume of cargo in the early years, consisting chiefly of imports of oil and motors and the export of groundnuts, granite and ores, the port has moved towards handling 60 million tonnes of cargo in recent years. An ISO 14001:2004 and ISPS-certified port, its container traffic crossed 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the first time in 2008. The port is currently ranked the 86th largest container port in the world and is expanding in the coming years with the capacity going up to 140 million tonnes per annum.[6][7] Chennai Port has been transformed into a main line port having direct connectivity to 50+ ports.

Port of Chennai and coal

The Port of Chennai handled approximately 8 million tonnes of coal for clients such as the Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board, Karnataka Power Corporation, cement plants of Tamil Nadu and independent power producers in northern Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh. The coal handling for the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board was transferred to the Ennore Port. In 2005, as part of a pollution-control measure, the port installed wind curtains made of ultraviolet resistant fabric along the harbour's beachfront for over 1.5 km to the east of the coal terminal to prevent wind carrying coal dust into the city at a cost of 3.7 million.

In 2008, the port installed a semi-mechanised closed coal conveyor system comprising two streams with a capacity of 15 million metric tons/annum and a handling rated capacity of 1,500 metric tons/hour/stream and running for a length of 5 km at two berths, namely, Jawahar Dock IV and VI, at a cost of 430 million to transfer the coal to the individual coal plots at the southern end of the port, from where the cargo will be transported by rail to respective destinations, thus preventing pollution from coal dust and eliminating movement of coal-carrying trucks within the port. The conveyor runs at an elevation of 10-13 m and has provision for longitudinal movement along the road to the plots and transverse movement for stacking coal at individual plots.

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cargo Wise Performance Indicators" Port of Chennai website, accessed February 2018.
  2. "Shift coal handling to Ennore, HC tells port" The Times of India, May 12, 2011.
  3. "Coal operations may resume at Chennai port" Times of India, September 17, 2012.
  4. "Coal berths making way for container terminal at port" The Hindu, August 14, 2013.
  5. "Court stays conversion of coal berth into box terminal at Chennai port" The Hindu Business Line, January 8, 2014.
  6. "Chennai Port shelves plan for container terminal" The Hindu, September 13, 2014.
  7. "Chennai Port Trust slips into red " The Hindu, June 5, 2014.
  8. "Vizag Port, PCB told to control coal dust" The Times of India, March 14, 2017.

Related GEM.wiki articles

External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Port of Chennai. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.