Odisha’s growth story is yet to reach its peak. Steel and power are considered as the core industries in any country, and Odisha has the largest base of these industries in India. About one third of country’s iron ore, a quarter of coal resources, 50 per cent of bauxite reserve, and 90 per cent of nickel and chromite reserves are present in Odisha. Presence of these natural resources along with availability of a sea front offers investors a perfect combination. But still these natural resource are not fully exploited: in spite of availability of huge Bauxite reserves in Odisha, Vedanta imports it from West Africa.
Odisha is expected to produce about 100 million tonnes of steel annually. For instance, JSW Group has got approval to set up a steel production unit at a cost of INR 20,000 crore near Paradip Port which will contribute 20 million tonnes of traffic. The company aims to create 100 million tonnes capacity on the east coast. The only concern is connectivity, especially the Haridaspur-Paradip rail project has taken too long to complete and the fresh target for the project completion is June 2019, and completion of this project will help faster evacuation of iron ore and other cargo. A cord line which will provide last mile connectivity to Paradip Port to tap coal from the mines of Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd is another important linkage that is pending land acquisition.
The Tata Steel SEZ at Gopalpur is a multi-product economic zone and the project is poised for environmental clearance upto red category which will allow location of hazardous industries as well. The SEZ is well connected by rail, road and port. But absence of container handling facilities at Gopalpur Port creates logistics complexities for manufacturers as containerised ferrochrome movement to industries in Gopalpur happens through Visakhapatnam Port due to lack of container handling facility at Gopalpur Port.
SAIL has a capacity to produce 21 million tonnes of steel which requires 80 million tonnes of raw material to be moved through ports in spite of congestion and shortage of rakes. Further Paradip and Dhamra Ports have pre-berthing delays of 7 days in addition to evacuation and storage issues. The company imports limestone from far off ports like Haldia.
The upcoming coastal highway connecting all the three ports in Odisha is expected to ensure equitable distribution of cargo to them. But the import cost of raw material will not reduce significantly even if container ports are developed in Odisha due to infrastructure issues, paucity of transportation services and unionisation of truck owners.
Coming to liquid bulk, the oil industry had so far avoided Paradip Port due to the adverse sea conditions, but Indian Oil Corporation has taken the lead and with 57 per cent berth occupancy, IOC is confident of handling 60 million metric tonnes of crude oil at the terminal. In fact, all the requirements of refineries of IOC on the eastern part of India is fed by Paradip Port.
Paradip Port is the 3rd port in India and first on the east coast to handle 100 million tonnes of cargo in a financial year. Cargo volume is growing at a rate of 16-17% Y-o-Y at the port that handled 102.01 million tonnes of cargo in FY18.
Dhamra Port is in the middle of its second phase ramp-up to scale up cargo handling capacity four-fold from 25 mtpa to 100 mtpa. This phase will see the port's LNG terminal going on stream and the handling of containerised cargo as well.
The third edition of SLS Bhubaneswar will bring together manufacturers, government representatives and logistics service providers to explore opportunities for streamlining cargo generation and movement, while discussing pertinent logistics and regulatory issues.