The Board of Commissioners created by the British in 1870 ran the Port of Kolkata until 1975 when India's Major Port Trust Act of 1963 came into effect. The Kolkata Port Trust, created by the 1963 legislation, manages two ports that make up the Port of Kolkata: the deep-water port of Haldia and the oil piers at Baj Baj.
The Kolkata Port Trust is responsible for the ships and shipping system based in the Port of Kolkata, including port infrastructure and facilities. Since it began operating, the Kolkata Port Trust has surpassed every target that has been set for it, and it has consistently set all-time records. The Kolkata Port Trust is firmly committed to professionalism and perfectionism, making it one of the best-managed ports in India.
The Port of Kolkata serves a huge hinterland containing almost half of all Indian states as well as the nearby countries of Bhutan and Nepal. With two dock systems, the Port of Kolkata has a combination of facilities that offer a wide range of services and competitive packages to its customers. The Port of Kolkata has India's largest dry dock facilities, a highly competitive container rate, brief pre-berthing periods for vessels entering the port, and the country's most modern traffic management system. The Port of Kolkata has ample transportation facilities and rail, road, and water connections linking it to all parts of India.
In the 2007-2008 shipping season, the Port of Kolkata served 3374 vessels and handled over 57.3 million tons of cargo, an all-time record for the port making it the third busiest port in India. This represents an 88.6% increase over the cargo volume handled in 2001-2002. The total of 57.3 million included 38.9 million tons of imports and 18.4 million tons of exports. In addition to cargoes, the Port of Kolkata handled 31.7 thousand passengers who disembarked at and 43.5 thousand passengers who embarked from the port.
The Port of Kolkata handled Imports of 38.9 million tons that were dominated by miscellaneous cargoes (20.4 million tons), coking coal (5.5 million tons), general cargo (2.8 million tons), pulses/peas (1.4 million tons), other liquid cargoes (1.3 million tons), vegetable oil (1.0 million tons), and non-coking coal (1.0 million tons). Other imports included metallurgical coke, timber, liquefied petroleum gas, limestone, iron and steel, machinery, fertilizers (finished and raw materials), metal and metal products, manganese ore, newsprint and paper, scrap, and a variety of other cargoes in lesser amounts.
Exports of 18.4 million tons handled by the Port of Kolkata were dominated by iron ore (10.3 million tons), thermal coal (1.8 million tons), general cargo (1.6 million tons), other cargo (1.3 million tons), and iron and steel (1.0 million tons). The Port of Kolkata also handled exports in lesser volumes that included fly ash, jute and jute products, metal and metal products, other liquid cargoes, tea, and a variety of other materials and products.
The Port of Kolkata contains two dock systems: the Kolkata Dock System located in Kolkata and the nearby oil wharves at Baj Baj and the deep-water Haldia Dock Complex which handles sea-borne trade. Both dock systems are impounded, with vessels entering and leaving the port through locks giving access to the river. The Port of Kolkata offers modern port facilities, ample storage facilities, and a sophisticated computerized container terminal.
The Kolkata Dock System (KDS) includes impounded dock systems at Kidderpore and Netaji Subhas in Kolkata, petroleum wharves at Baj Baj, and anchorages at Saugor, Diamond Harbor, and Sandheads. The Port of Kolkata's Kidderpore Docks have 18 berths, six moorings/buoys, and three dry docks. The Netaji Subhas Docks have 10 berths, two moorings/buoys, and two dry docks. There are six Port of Kolkata petroleum wharves at the Baj Baj river moorings.
The Port of Kolkata was the first in India to create modern container facilities. In 1977, the container terminal and Container Freight Station were commissioned at the Haldia Dock Complex. Today, the Haldia Dock Complex handles almost one-third of the total container traffic through the Port of Kolkata, the major portion being handled at the Kolkata Dock System. Since 1992, the port-run container terminal at the Netaji Subhas Docks has handled 90% of the KDS container traffic.
The Port of Kolkata's KDS contains 11 hectares of stacking area and a nine thousand square meter Container Freight Station. The major containerized commodities moving through the Port of Kolkata include:
The Port of Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Dock (NSD) contain four container-handling berths with a total quay length of 600 meters and alongside depths from 6.5 to 8 meters, all of which can accommodate vessels of 172.2 meters in length and 24.4 meters in breadth. Berths 7 and 8 cover an area of 60 thousand square meters, and Berths 4 and 5 cover an area of 50 thousand square meters.
Berth 7 in the Port of Kolkata contains the 9 thousand square meter covered Container Freight Station. The NSD has ground slot capacity for three thousand TEUs and 48 reefer points. Container-handling facilities are located at Berths 10 and 11 at the Port of Kolkata's Haldia Dock Complex. In addition to containers, these facilities handle breakbulk and dry bulk cargoes (excluding coking coal, coke, and other black cargo).
The Port of Kolkata is planning to build four container-handling jetties at Diamond Harbor some 50 kilometers downstream from the Netaji Subhas Dock. With natural depth from 9 to 9.5 meters, the new jetties will be capable of handling some 1.6 million TEUs. The new jetties should be completed by 2012.
The Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) in the Port of Kolkata contains cargo-handling 17 berths, 14 of which are inside the impounded dock and can accommodate vessels up to 90 thousand DWT. The three oil jetties are located on the river bank. The dock complex has ample open storage for stacking thermal coal and iron ore, and additional open and covered storage areas are available.
The Port of Kolkata's HDC Berth 3, which handles over 2.2 million tons of cargo per year, can accommodate vessels to 239 meters long. Equipped for direct pipeline discharge, Berth 3 handles iron ore; thermal coal; petroleum, oil, and lubricants; and paraxylene.
Handling over 3.2 million tons of thermal coal per year, the HDC Berth 4 in the Port of Kolkata can accommodate vessels to 239 meters long. Berth 4A can handle about 3 million tons of coking coal each year, and it can accommodate vessels to 230 meters long. With direct rail connections to its back-up area, Berth 4B handles about two million tons of coking coal, iron ore, coal, and other bulk and breakbulk cargoes each year.
With capacity to handle 1.2 million tons of cargo per year, the Port of Kolkata's HDC Berth 5 can accommodate vessels to 183 meters long. Berth 5 handles iron ore, coking coal, and raw fertilizer materials. HDC Berths 6 and 7 in the Port of Kolkata have capacity for 2.3 million tons of breakbulk, dry bulk, and liquid bulk cargoes per year, and they are equipped with pipeline discharge facilities and ample area for setting up tank farms outside the dock near the finger jetty.
The Port of Kolkata's HDC Berth 8 has capacity for 1.8 million tons of coking coal, limestone, steel, general cargo, and other dry bulk cargoes per year. HDC Berth 9, with capacity for one million tons of cargo per year, handles containers, breakbulk, and dry bulk cargoes (excluding coking coal, coke, and other black cargo). Berths 8 and 9 have direct rail connections with their back-up areas, and there are two covered transit sheds behind Berth 9.
With capacity for 1.8 million tons per year, the Port of Kolkata's HDC Berth 12 handles breakbulk, bulk, and containerized cargoes. Berth 12 has 14 thousand square meters of back-up storage space and three thousand square meters of covered space. Two new berths are nearing completion in the Haldia impounded dock system. Berths 2 and 13 will have capacity for handling 20 thousand tons of cargo per day.
Located on the banks of the Hoogly River at the Port of Kolkata's Haldia Dock Complex, Oil Jetties 1, 2, and 3 have capacity for handling a total 17.7 million tons of cargo per year. Two riverine barge jetties also have capacity to handle 500 thousand tons of petroleum, oil, and lubricants each year.
Oil Jetty 1 in the Port of Kolkata was commissioned in 1968, and it can accommodate vessels to 236 meters long and up to 90 thousand DWT. The Port of Kolkata's Oil Jetty 1 handles petroleum, oil, and lubricants; chemicals; liquid ammonia; liquefied petroleum gas; naphtha; butadiene; benzene; butane; bitumen; and other liquid cargoes. It has direct connections by pipeline with local user industries, and it can receive slop/ballast water. Vessels must confirm maximum and minimum permissible lengths before approaching Oil Jetty 1.
Commissioned in 1991, Oil Jetty 2 in the Port of Kolkata has annual capacity for six million tons of cargo and can accommodate vessels to 277 meters long and up to 150 thousand DWT. Also with direct pipeline connections to local user industries, Oil Jetty 2 handles crude oil and petroleum, oil, and lubricant products. It also has facilities to receive slop/ballast.
The Port of Kolkata's HDC Oil Jetty 3 was commissioned in 2000 and can handle 9.5 million tons of cargo per year. It can accommodate vessels to 275 meters long and up to 150 thousand DWT. Oil Jetty 3 also handles crude and petroleum, oil, and lubricants. It has direct pipeline connections to the storage facilities of Reliance Industries Limited in Haldia.