JSW Infrastructure, the ports unit of the Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, is set to commence the development of the Keni greenfield port in Karnataka this calendar year.
The second-largest commercial port operator in India had emerged as the winning bidder for the development of Keni port, further to which its subsidiary, Masad Infra Services Private Limited, signed the concession agreement with the Karnataka Maritime Board in November 2023.
"So for Keni port, we got into a concession agreement sometime in November last year. Once we get some of the remaining approvals, the construction will start," writes ET, quoting Arun Maheshwari, CEO of JWS Infra.
The anticipated capital expenditure for the port stands at Rs 4,119 crore, with a projected timeline of four years for commissioning. Initially, the port will have a cargo handling capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), with provisions for expansion up to 56.5 MTPA as per demand.
Designed to be an all-weather, multi-cargo, direct berthing, deep-water commercial port, the Keni Port will be situated on the west coast in the North Karnataka region, strategically positioned to cater to industries in Bellary, Hosapete, Hubballi, Kalaburagi, and South Maharashtra
The port will showcase cutting-edge, environmentally sustainable mechanised infrastructure customised for accommodating cape-size vessels, which are too large to transit through the Panama Canal and must instead navigate around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn.
Notably, the Keni Port is strategically located between two operational major ports — the Mormugao Port in the north and New Mangalore Port in the south.
The port's hinterland primarily consists of coal and coke cargo, utilised for steel, cement, and power plants. It is also supported by the handling of iron ore, limestone, dolomite, and the export of finished steel products.
According to the Karnataka Maritime Perspective Plan, Karnataka currently has a hinterland potential of 44 MTPA of cargo, expected to increase to 117 MTPA by 2035.
On comparison of the future demand and the capacity being handled by the present ports, there is a need for a deep draft port to fulfil the cargo handling gap requirement in future. Hence, the concept of development of the port at Keni emerged.
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