India’s eastern region is poised to become a hub of trade and investment thanks to the Mamata Banerjee administration in West Bengal’s approval of the issuance of a letter of intent to the Adani group for the building of the Tajpur port. According to maritime industry specialists, the deep sea port will ensure easier access to nearby countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), India’s largest port operator and a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Ports, will likely get the letter of intent from the West Bengal Maritime Board. An investment of Rs 25,000 crore would be needed for the port’s construction.
The West Bengal government’s Department of Industry, Commerce, and Enterprises published a Request for Proposal in October for the development of the port, and APSEZ was the highest bidder. However, the state government has been taking its time since then to approve the letter of intent to APSEZ. Following the letter of intent, a formal contract will be awarded to Adani Ports.
The Supreme Court ruled on September 5 that the Adani Group’s exclusion from a port project in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, should not be seen as a “ineligibility” that prevents it from competing for other port projects. The clearance of the letter of intent follows closely on the heels of that judgement.
Tajpur will be Bengal’s first new port in nearly fifty years, and it will be the second-largest port in West Bengal after the Kolkata Port, now known as the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP). A greenfield project is one where building takes place on undeveloped land without the need to renovate or demolish an existing building.
In addition to SMP, a major port, the state also has a few smaller ports. SMP ranked sixth among India’s 12 major ports in terms of the amount of cargo traffic it handled in 2020–21 with 61.36 million tonnes (MT). Additionally, it handled most ships throughout this time.
Along with SMP, the Paradip port in Odisha is another significant port in the eastern region.
The Tajpur deep sea port will serve as a maritime gateway for the entire eastern area, according to the West Bengal government and marine industry specialists. According to the state minister for urban development Firhad Hakim, Bengal is about to experience a wave of development through the Tajpur Port.
“This is undoubtedly a historic moment for Bengal; it will provide a tonne of job possibilities and spur rapid development in the region. The letter of intent will be served at an event that the CM will organise very shortly. The first deep sea port in Bengal will be visible to us, he promised.
About 200 kilometres from Kolkata, in the Purba Medinipur region of West Bengal, is where you’ll find Tajpur Port. It will make it possible for a huge “capesize,” the largest class of cargo ships with a DWT of one lakh, to call on the port. This is noteworthy, according to maritime experts, because the state’s ports cannot accommodate larger ships due to the shallow draught.
With an 18 kilometre waterway, the Tajpur Port will have a deep draught of 12.1 metres. Large capesize boats may dock at the port thanks to a 3.9 m tidal support and a net 16 m draught facility.
According to industry experts, Tajpur is a “port-led development” rather than just a port.
“Adani will also receive close to 1,000 acres of land for the development of industry and other port-led projects. According to Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practise leader, consulting, transport, mobility, and logistics, Crisil Market Intelligence & Analytics, the amount of investment is also pretty large.
In the near term, a lot of coastal development can be facilitated by the port, according to Padmanabhan.
“It could make a lot of exports easier… Coal, iron ore, and other minerals are in great abundance in that area. It might greatly accelerate the state’s overall development. Additionally, when a port is built, the infrastructure of the roads and the train system will both be enhanced, he continued.
Experts in the maritime industry reported that a state marine authority was finally putting a full port up for development. They claimed that it is noteworthy because it can inspire other state governments to undertake similar projects.