Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BBC covers Orissa's iron ore exports

By Shilpa Kannan 
Business reporter, BBC News India Business Report, Paradip port

Iron ore being stored in Orissa
Iron ore is now Orissa's main export

A thick haze clouds the horizon as rich red dust is poured down.

As more of the fine granules of iron ore arrive on loud, rumbling conveyor belts, the loading machine scoops up large quantities to drop into the open hatch of the waiting ship. This is like gold in these parts.

This may look like any other busy sea dock in India. But on India's iron ore rich eastern coast, Paradip port is a vital link to global markets.

Every month, millions of tonnes of iron ore are exported from here - bringing in much-needed cash and turning the region into a vibrant commercial hub.

The question is whether in one of India's poorest regions, some people are being left behind.

Chinese connection

The Paradip port is a gateway into India's source of mineral wealth, spread across the three eastern states of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.

 While Orissa has managed to tap into its location advantage and natural resources - it hasn't included the people who need it most 
Santosh K Mehrotra, government planning commission

Nearly 80-90% of India's iron ore is exported to China, and this accounts for at least 80 million tonnes of cargo every year. The bulk of this goes through Paradip.

So despite the global economic slowdown, the port has handled all-time record traffic this year.

The port's chairman, K Raghuramaiah says this is mainly due to the location advantage the port enjoys. Being so close to China and the rest of East Asia gives them access to some of the best global markets, he says.

"We are forecasting much more cargo coming our way, so the port's capacity to handle cargo needs to increase," he adds.

"The cargo traffic here has doubled in the past six years. Dredging operations are already taking place to deepen the port and we also plan to add more berths to increase their capacity.

"Since the demand is going up, and we have the ideal infrastructure in place to cater to it - we hope to handle 100 million tonnes of cargo by 2016. We are getting ready for that."


1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Its quite interesting. I never realsied that iron Ore was so important to Orissa's economy. Paradip seems to have a lot of potential.

thanks for this post