Increased wind power generation, TNEB plants’ overhauling cited as reasons

File Pic: Coal-loaded rail wagon moving towards Kamarajar Port on Chennai Division of SR

Chennai: Increased wind power generation, coupled with overhauling of power plants belonging to Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), led to a significant drop in loading of coal by Southern Railway (SR) from Kamarajar port in Ennore during the first half of the current financial year.

Southern Railway ferries the highest volume of coal for TNEB power plants from Kamarajar port. In April to September 2016, it loaded 800 rakes of coal from the port for power plant at Mettur as against around 1,050 rakes in first half of last year. For power plant at Vadalur, Southern Railway loaded 200 rakes less this year compared with the previous year, according to a senior official.

“We were told by TNEB officials that the drop in coal demand was mainly due to high wind power generation. It is a significant loss of cargo and revenue for the Railway in the first half. This is the first time that the loss is huge for us. It is going to be very difficult to offset the loss with any other cargo,” he said.

Each rake has 59 wagons and can carry around 3,400 tonnes of coal. Every day, around six rakes of coal were moved from the port to Mettur. To offset the loss from coal cargo, Southern Railway is trying to increase loading of other cargo such as fertiliser, foodgrains and pet coke. However, the volume may not be as high as coal, the official said.

Kamarajar port handling

For Kamarajar port, coal handling for TNEB declined by nearly 10 per cent to 9.29 million tonnes in the first half from 10.27 MT in same period last year. The port handled 158 ships carrying coal for TNEB in the first half of the current fiscal against 172 vessels in the same period last year, said a port official, giving the same reasons for the slump.

Rise in auto traffic

While coal traffic was down, Southern Railway witnessed a significant increase in movement of automobile by rail with 93 rakes in the first half as against 71 last year. Automobiles were loaded at Melpakkam and Tiruvallur to destinations in the North-East, and to Jaipur in Rajasthan and Sanand in Gujarat.

Some of the cars moved through rail include Renault, Hyundai and Ford. Each rake has 27 wagons and each wagon can carry five to seven cars depending on the size, he said.

About Kamarajar Port Ltd (erstwhile Ennore Port)

Ennore Port, officially renamed Kamarajar Port Limited, is located on the Coromandel Coast about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai, it is the 12th major port of India, and the first port in India which is a public company. The Kamarajar Port Limited is the only corporatised major port and is registered as a company. The Centre holds a stake of about 68 per cent in the Kamarajar Port Limited and the remaining 32 per cent is held by the Chennai Port Trust. The port has been able to attract an investment of ₹ 26,000 million by private entrepreneurs on various terminals and harbour craft. Kamarajar Port Limited, designed as Asia’s energy port, is the first corporatised port in India and has only 86 employees. Envisaged being a satellite port to decongest and improve the environmental quality at the bustling Chennai Port, Kamarajar Port Limited is evolving itself into a full-fledged port with the capacity to handle a wide range of products. With a permissible draught of 13.5 m, the port handled a total volume of 11.01 million tonnes in 2010–11, up by 2.86 per cent from the previous year.


Ennore Port was originally conceived as a satellite port to the Chennai Port, primarily to handle thermal coal to meet the requirement of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) 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 Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 1 February 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 22 June 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.

With the acquisition of about 440 hectares of land, the first phase of the port consisted of the construction of a coal jetty, a wharf and an entrance channel and related dredging operations. The main construction work included two berths for handling coal vessels up to 65,000 DWT, dredging for the approach channel and harbour basin, onshore civil works, navigational aids, and two breakwaters—4 km in the north side and 1 km in the south—close to the NCTPS and the Ennore Creek. In 2014, the port was officially renamed as Kamarajar Port.

Location and Geography

Ennore Port lies on the northeastern corner of the Chennai City of Tamil Nadu State on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. It is located on the east coast of the Indian peninsulaknown as the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal and is situated 2.6 km north of the Ennore creek. Being coastal and situated on the thermal equator zone, the port experiences minimal variations in seasonal temperature ranging from a maximum of 38–42 °C in summer to a minimum of 18–20 °C in winter. The weather is hot and humid for most of the year, and the region features a tropical wet and dry climate. The northeast monsoon winds brings seasonal rainfall in the region from September to December, and occasionally cyclones. The annual rainfall in the region is about 1400 mm (55 in). The most prevailing winds are the southwesterly between April and October and the northeasterly during the rest of the year. The port is located on a region that falls under Seismic Zone III indicating a moderate risk of earthquake. The Ennore creek in the south separates the port from the town of Ennore. Shoreline changes around the region have resulted in the closure of the creek mouth by a sand bar.



Cargo (in million tonnes)


3.401 (from June 2001)



















Commissioned in 2001 and operating on a landlord port concept, it is outsourcing all services required for operation and maintenance, and new terminals are being developed with the participation of the private sector. During the year of 2010–11, it handled a total cargo of 11.01 million tons. The port has effectively taken over all the ore movement from the Chennai Port. By 2016, the port is expected to have the capacity to handle over 80 million tons of cargo and its coal-handling capacity is expected to be about 43 million tons. The port is equipped to handle 16 million tonnes of coal per year from its two dedicated coal berths with 15 m alongside depth and manned by TNEB, while its third berth promoted by Chettinad International Coal Terminal, is a common user facility that can handle 8 million tonnes per annum.

The approach channel to the port is 3,775 m long. The minimum depth of the entrance channel is 16 m below chart datum (BCD) and the minimum width is 250 m. The turning basin is 600 m in diameter with a minimum depth of 15.5 m BCD. The breakwaters in the port are of rubble-mound type with accropode armour protection. The northern breakwater measures 3,080 m and the southern breakwater measures 1,070 m.

Port Crafts

Tugs (40 tonne Bollard pull)

3 nos.

Pilot launches

2 nos.

Mooring launches

3 nos.

High-speed patrol boat

1 no.

Navigational aids

Fairway buoy

1 no.

Channel-marking buoy

6 nos.

Transit light towers

2 nos.

Equipment profile (installed by TNEB over coal wharf)

Conveyors (4000 TPH each)

2 nos.

Unloading equipments: Shore-based
gantry-type grab (2000 TPH each)

2 nos.

Mobile Hopper (to receive coal from
crane hopper self-unloading ship
at the rate of 4000 TPH)

1 no.

Temporary hoppers (to receive coal from
Handymax geared vessels)

6 nos.

The port has adequate road and rail links. The Port has obtained an in-principle approval from Southern Railwaysfor providing rail connectivity to coal and iron ore stackyards. Ennore Port Limited (EPL) is also developing an 8-lane Northern Express Road, which would link the port with the National Highway No. 5. It has a 560-metre (1,840 ft)-long coal wharf for berthing two Panamax-size vessels and fully mechanised systems for handling 16 million tons of cargo a year. Designed as a world-class port, with two breakwaters—one in the north measuring 3,080 m (10,100 ft) and the other in the south measuring 1,070 m (3,510 ft) with a depth of 15 m (49 ft)—it has the capacity to develop 22 berths for handling a variety of bulk, liquid, and container cargo. The port is an artificial port with features including all-weather, round-the-clock operations, a large back-up land, eco-friendly environment, state-of-the-art navigational facilities, well-organised logistics systems and transport interface.

According to the Maritime Agenda 2010–20, the port traffic is projected to increase to 67.44 million tonnes in 2016–17 and 71.54 million tonnes in 2019–20. Against this projected traffic growth, the port’s capacity is expected to increase from the existing 16 million tonnes (as on 31 March 2010) to 73 million tonnes in 2016–17. The major economic activities through which traffic and capacity will rise are development of LNG and coal terminals and expansion of outer harbour stage II and development of container terminal, respectively. The target set for the port for 2010–11 is 13.20 million tonnes against a target of 12.45 million tonnes during the previous fiscal.

During 2010–11, the port handled a total of 294 vessels, including 184 dry bulk, 87 liquid bulk, 22 break bulk and 1 container vessels against 273 vessels in 2009–10, registering a 7.69% increase.

Car exports took place through the port for the first time in 2010–11. A total of 54,264 cars were exported through the port by Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt. Ltd.

The Marine Liquid Terminal constructed at a cost of ₹ 2,500 million is already operational since January 2009.

Being a corporate port, Ennore Port is the only major port in the country paying dividend to the government. During the year 2010–11, the port reported a post-tax profit of ₹ 555.8 million as against ₹ 486.6 million in the previous year. The operating ratio of the port is the lowest among all the major ports in India at 33.56 per cent during 2010–11.

Cargo handled by Ennore Port (in million tonnes):




Thermal coal



Iron ore



Petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL)
(including STS)







The Chettinad International Coal Terminal (CICTL), the private terminal at the port capable of handling Panamax ships, commenced operations in January 2011 and is targeting to handle nearly 5 million tonnes of coal/coke by current financial year ending 31 March 2012. The terminal was completed with equipments and conveyor systems, yard and evacuations systems with capacity to handle 8 million tonnes of coal/coke annually at project outlay of about ₹ 4,000 million.

The Ennore Container Terminal (ECT), also known as the Bay of Bengal Gateway Terminal, will have an eventual planned annual capacity of 2.4 million TEUs and will be capable of handling three mainline vessels simultaneously. The construction is expected to begin by end of 2011 at a cost of £207 million, allowing the first ships to be handled in 2013. The terminal for 6,000-to-8,000 TEU vessels will have a quay length of 1,000 m with 15 m water depth at the berths and will be able to handle three container vessels of up to 8,000 TEUs simultaneously.



Max permissible
length (m)

Max permissible
draught (m)

Type of cargo

Size (DWT)

Type of vessels

Coal Berth 1 (CB1)




Thermal coal


Handymax and Panamax size vessels
(both geared & gearless)

Coal Berth 2 (CB2)




Thermal coal


Handymax and Panamax size vessels (geared vessels only)

Marine Liquid Terminal 1 (MLT1)





Up to 1,50,000

Chettinad International Coal Terminal (CICT)




Coal (other than TNEB)

Up to 1,50,000

Connectivity – Road link

The highway authority is implementing a project for construction of 30.1 km (18.7 mi) segment of Chennai-Ennore Port connectivity. Announced by the Tamil Nadu Government in 1998, the cost of the Chennai-Ennore Port Road Connectivity project, earlier called Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project, has escalated by four times to ₹ 6,000 million. The project is to enable free flow of truck traffic from and to the Chennai port in North Chennai. The Ennore Port handles over 5,000 containers a day and trucks need to take this Ennore-Manali road for entry and exit to the port. The project is still in the “tendering” stage—previous tenders were cancelled for various reasons.

The project will commence in January 2011 and will be completed in 2 years.

The Union Government has decided to lay a 21.1-kilometre (13.1 mi)-long 4-laned national highway (port corridor) connecting Ennore with Thacchur at a cost of ₹ 3,740 million. The road runs from the northern gate of Ennore port to Panchetti near Thatchur on National Highway 5. The proposed road would provide direct access to NH 5 from the Ennore port and the upcoming port of L&T. The road between the Ennore port and Panchetti would have its alignment along nine villages, including Kattupalli, Ariyanvoyal, Nallur, Vellampakkam and Vannivakkam. Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti link road to be created would cover the villages of Kollatur, Nandiambakkam and Vallur.

L&T Ship Building Ltd is likely to form a joint venture with Ennore Port and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), to build a 25.5-km road that would connect Ennore andKattupalli ports. The road project is estimated to cost ₹ 3,600 million. To implement the road project some 400 acres would need to be acquired.

Connectivity – Rail link

The port has 6-km-long rail link connecting the coal and iron ore stack yards and the North Chennai Thermal Power Station with Athipattu and Athipattu-Pudhunagar railway stations. A 26 km Y-shaped single-track northern link from the port to the Anuppampattu railway station, connecting the port with the Chennai-Gudur mainline, was proposed in 2012 at an estimated cost of ₹ 1,700 million. The link will have two arms at the port end, with one arm culminating at coal and iron ore stack yards and the other culminating at the upcoming container terminals. The link would eventually upgraded to a dual-track one.

In-principle approval from the Indian Railways was obtained in September 2013.

Rail connectivity project works to link coal and iron ore stackyards with Athipattu station on the Chennai–Vijayawada mainline are under the implementation at a cost of ₹ 516 million. Meanwhile, the coal and iron ore stackyards are being serviced through a new-line operationalised in November 2010.


Ennore Port has been conferred with the “memorandum of excellence certificate” by the Government of India for 2008–09. It is the second consecutive year that the port has been selected for the honour. The union ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises had granted MoU excellence awards and certificates for achieving “excellent” MoU rating.

Government of India has accorded Category-I Mini Ratna status to Ennore Port Limited.

The future

The Planning Commission has approved a rail connectivity for Ennore Port to the coal, iron and container terminals. There is a US$230-million expansion for the port in progress. An iron ore terminal is currently in the process of construction by PSA Sical. The terminal will have a capacity for 12 million tonnes of cargo per year, expandable to 15/20 million tonnes per year. Facilities include a jetty, ship loader, mechanised handling system with conveyor, storage, and a wagon unloading system. The port is expanding its cargo handling capacity to 87 million tonnes a year in the next 5 years as mandated by the Union Government, according to a press release from Ennore Port Ltd.


Capacity (million tonnes per annum)

Estimated cost (in million)

Alongside depth

Jetty length

Development & operation

Date of commissioning


Iron ore terminal

12.0 (6.0 in Phase I and 6.0 in Phase II)

₹ 4,800 (₹ 3,600 in Phase I and ₹ 1,200 in Phase II)

15 m BCD (Phase I) (18 m depth deepening in progress)

347.5 m

M/s SICAL Iron ore Terminals Ltd (Consortium of SICAL Logistics Ltd., MMTC Ltd. and L&T IDP Ltd.)

28 January 2011


Coal terminal


₹ 3,991.3

15 m BCD

325 m

M/s Chettinad International Coal Terminal (P) Ltd. (Consortium of SICL, Portia Management Services Ltd. and Navayuga Engineering Ltd.)

28 January 2011


General cargo berth

0.5 (plus 200,000 cars per annum)

₹ 1,100

12 m BCD

250 m

28 January 2011


Marine liquid terminal


₹ 2,500

15 m BCD

360 m

Ennore Tank Terminal Pvt. Ltd.(Consortium of IMC Pvt. Ltd. and L&T Ltd.)

January 2009


Container terminal (Phase I)

18.0 (1.5 million TEUs)

₹ 14,070

15 m BCD

1,000 m

Bay of Bengal Gateway Terminal Pvt. Ltd.



LNG terminal


Approx. ₹ 27,000 (including regassification plant)

15 m BCD

300 m



Coal berth III for TNEB


15 m BCD

290 m

Developed by Ennore Port and operated by TNEB


Though the port started as a dirty port to take over the coal and ore handling from the Chennai Port, it has suggested a proposal for a modern container terminal. The facility would have a capacity to handle 1.5 million TEUs (18 million tonnes). The port has started competing with the Chennai Port on handling of container traffic. Recently, the Nissan-Renault car manufacturing company picked it over the Chennai Port for the car exports. To facilitate this, a US$320-million expansion has been approved and will commence by March 2009. The port also won Toyota for its exports of cars manufactured near Bangalore. Mitsui is working on creating an auto yard in the port to facilitate the exports. The port is also planning to build a four-lane road linking the new terminal with the national highway (NH-5).

Construction of a car export terminal with a capacity of handling 400,000 cars annually at the port has been completed, which Japanese car-maker Nissan Motors will use to export 180,000 cars per year once fully executed, though exports are expected to commence from 28 January 2011. Construction of the terminal has cost ₹ 1,200 million and the facilities will include a berth, a 12-m draft after dredging of the basin and a parking yard of 175,000 sq.m. A coal terminal and iron ore terminal are also being developed at a total investment of ₹ 8,800 million. The coal terminal, constructed at a cost of ₹ 4,000 million with a capacity to handle 8 million tonnes of coal, is expected to commence on 28 January 2011. The iron ore terminal was constructed at a cost of ₹ 4,800 million with a capacity to handle 12 million tonnes annually and was opened in January 2011 but is yet to start commercial operations. However, since the Supreme Court put a blanket ban in July 2011 on mining in the mineral-rich Bellary-Hospet belt in Karnataka, on which the terminal is totally dependent on, to check environmental damage arising from rampant illegal mining, Sical Logistics is seeking to handle diversified cargo. The container terminal will be built at a cost of ₹ 14,070 million (US$312 million) with an annual capacity of 1.5 million TEU. Work on the new Ennore Container Terminal is scheduled to take 33 months and it is expected to be operational by the end of 2013. The concession will be awarded on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 30 years. The terminal will have a quay length of 1,000 m and an estimated throughput of 1.5 million TEUs annually. The terminal will provide 15-m water depth at the berths and will be able to handle three container vessels of up to 8,000 TEUs simultaneously.

The port is awaiting the Central Government’s permission to start a capital dredging work. There is a special economic zone (SEZ) coming up near the port covering 3,000 acres (12 km2) to take advantage of the proximity to the port. It is for engineering, information technology, auto components, garments and leather products. It would have container freight station facilities and free trade warehousing zone.

With the inauguration of three new terminals to handle non-TNEB coal, iron ore and cars in 2010, the installed capacity of the port had doubled from 15 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes.

A ₹ 1,700-million capital dredging project to create necessary depths to handle larger vessels was commenced at the port on 26 February 2011. With this, the port’s channel depth has been increased from 16 m CD to 18 m CD.

In December 2011, Manali Petrochemicals Ltd entered into an agreement to set up storage and handling facility at the port for bulk import of propylene oxide, a major input for the derivative plants of the company. The facility is expected to be ready in about a year.

As of 2013, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) is considering setting up a single buoy mooring (SBM) at the Port, estimated to cost in excess of ₹ 12,000 million, as one of the options available for transporting crude, which would help the company bring in very large crude carriers.

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