Kandla Port (Gujarati: કંડલા) is a seaport located on the Gulf of Kutch, in Gujarat state, on India's west coast. Recognized as one of India's 12 major ports, Kandla was constructed in the 1950s as the chief seaport serving western India, after the partition of India from Pakistan left the port of Karachi in Pakistan. The Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was the first special economic zone to be established in India and in Asia.
While Kandla Port has joined other Indian ports in the rush to handle imported coal, it is subject to heavy silting and lacks the necessary depth to efficiently handle large capesize vessels. Kandla remains India’s biggest state-owned cargo handler by volume, but it has steadily lost market share to privately owned Mundra Port, 60km to the southwest. In 2012, the Kandla Port Trust (KPT), operator of Kandla Port, moved to improve access for larger vessels by authorizing construction of a modern, four-berth, deep draft terminal at its satellite Tuna Tekra Port, 20km to the southwest of Kandla Port. The new Tuna-Tekra bulk goods terminal, under construction by Adani, will allow ships up to 100,000 dwt to unload coal and other goods directly.
- Operator: Kandla Port Trust
- Annual Capacity (Tons): unknown
- Status: Expanding
The Port of Kandla is one of India's highest-earning ports and a hub for exporting grains and importing oil. Major imports entering the Port of Kandla are petroleum, chemicals, and iron and steel machinery, but it also handles salt, textiles, and grain. Established in 1965, the Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is the biggest multiple-product SEZ in the country. Covering over 310 hectares, the special economic zone is just nine kilometers from the Port of Kandla.
In July 2013, Adani's Mundra Port, only 60km southwest of Kandla Port and a chief competitor, eclipsed Kandla as India's largest port by tonnage handled. Mundra's meteoric rise since its founding in 1998 contrasts with Mundra's much slower growth in recent years; even as Mundra expanded from zero to 28 dry cargo berths between 1998 and 2013, Kandla only grew from 8 to 13 dry cargo berths during the same period. An August 2013 article in the Economic Times suggests several reasons for Mundra's success and Kandla's relatively poor performance, including Mundra's deeper draft and more modern facilities, Adani's political connections, and the bureaucratic inefficiencies of government-owned Kandla Port in contrast with privately-owned Mundra.
In 2012, Kandla Port reached an agreement with APSEZ (Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, India's largest private port operator) for construction of a new, mechanized, four-berth terminal with direct loading facilities for coal, iron ore, and other dry bulk goods. The new Adani Kandla Bulk Terminal (AKBT), also known as the Tuna Tekra terminal, will have an estimated annual capacity of 14 million tons, and will be located at Kara Creek, 20km southwest of Kandla Port but still within the jurisdiction of the Kandla Port Trust. The new deep draft berths, with a dredged depth of 16.2 meters and direct berthing facilities for vessels of up to 100,000 dwt, will offer advantages over Kandla's existing port, which is only 12 to 12.5 meters deep and subject to heavy silting, which makes it inaccessible to vessels with more than 55,000 tons of cargo. Currently, larger vessels wishing to deliver goods to Kandla must anchor far offshore and have their cargo offloaded by floating cranes onto barges. In mid-2014, with Adani's new terminal still unfinished, Kandla procured two additional floating cranes in an effort to keep up with the quickening pace of coal imports.
Articles and Resources
- "Ports gear up to handle surge in coal imports" The Hindu Business Line, October 5, 2014.
- "State-owned ports see rise in cargo volumes" LiveMint, April 4, 2014.
- "How Mundra overtook Kandla to become largest port by tonnage" The Economic Times, August 1, 2013.
- "Adani Ports gets nod to build dry bulk terminal at Kandla" The Economic Times, February 27, 2012.
- "Adani Ports inks pact with Kandla Port" The Hindu, July 4, 2012.
- "Kandla Port & Adani jointly to create deep-draft facility at Tuna-Tekra" CoalShastra, March 25, 2014.
- "Adani Kandla Bulk Terminal Pvt Ltd" Adani website, accessed February 2015.
- "How low-draft Kandla port manages to handle biggest of dry bulk ships" LiveMint, November 28, 2013.