Kolkata, Jul 19 (PTI) Bangladeshs Summit Alliance Port Ltd (SAPL), the maiden Public Private Partnership (PPP) investor in the Inland Waterways Authority of India's (IWAI) port infrastructure management, is sailing strong as demand for export cargo to Bangladesh and North East through Indo- Bangla protocol route is gaining momentum.
SAPLs Indian subsidiary, Summit Alliance Port East Gateway, won a contract to operate and maintain three Inland Waterways terminals on National Waterways-1 (Haldia to Varanasi), GR Jetty I & II and BISN in Kolkata and Kalughat in Bihar on a revenue-sharing model in 2018.
'In June, we handled 71,000 tonnes. We have reached near pre-covid cargo handling as demand for waterways cargo to Bangladesh and NE is strong. At this run-rate, we are targeting one million tonnes cargo from Bengal terminals in 2021,' AGM of Indian operation of SAPL, Sagar Khastagir, told PTI.
The slowdown of export and import from Petrapole land port near Kolkata since the lockdown was imposed in March has turned out to be a boon for Kolkata Port Trust and SAPL India.
Both have been witnessing increasing demand and recently steel was shipped to Bangladesh through the Indo- Bangla protocol route signed to develop a new trade route and connect Northeast India via the neighbouring country.
The Indian shipping minister recently flagged off a container ship from Kolkata port to Tripura, which will reach Agartala via Chattogram port in Bangladesh, Khastagir said adding that the company will very soon ship SAIL steel in containers to Bangladesh.
IWAI has made its foray into PPP in October 2018 when it handed over the operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to SAPLs Indian arm on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model. The operator has the right to collect user fees from the users as per the tariff rates notified by IWAI. The contract will be valid for a period of 30 years.
SAPL India will retain 61.70 per cent of revenue and IWAI will get the rest.
This PPP helped eliminate 24,000 truck journeys and reduce heavy vehicle traffic by almost 10 million truck kilometers in the first six months, sources said.
Khastagir said in the last 20 months, the company has handled nearly 1.4 million tonne of cargo and 1,300 barges.
He said so far Rs 5.5 crore had been invested in the modernization of the jetties and in the next one year, the investment will reach to Rs 15 crore.
On the Indo-Bangla protocol route, the International Finance Corporation recently said, 'This South-South investment will also encourage economic integration between India and Bangladesh, and create a market for terminal operators, shippers, and cargo owners around the Ganga River.' PTI BSM NN NN