Loss of business from Ford India will be compensated with new clients: Kamarajar Port CMD

The Kamarajar Port Ltd — formerly Ennore Port Ltd — is confident of making up for the proposed loss of Ford India Ltd.’s car export volumes with new clients, said a top company official.

A day before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival — September 9 — Ford India announced that it will wind down vehicle assembly in Sanand by the fourth quarter of 2021, and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022.

Ford India has four plants in the country — vehicle and engine plants in Chennai and Sanand.

Ford India has decided to continue operating the engine plant in Sanand while closing down the other three.

“Till July 2022 Ford India has export commitments. We don’t see a major impact till then. Meanwhile, we are also talking with other automobile makers and there has been good progress,” Sunil Paliwal, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Kamarajar Port, told IANS.

According to him, the new automobile client is likely to ship out about 60,000 units per year which would offset the loss of business from Ford India in a major way.

“Ford India has a major facility near Chennai and some other automobile makers may take over the same. So, there will be business potential for us,” Paliwal said.

Ford India has been a major client for Kamarajar Port since 2014 and their contract is valid till 2024.

“The highest volume of exports logged by Ford India through our port was about 90,000 units,” Paliwal said.

Meanwhile, the Kamarajar Port is also expanding its infrastructure by adding a new general cargo berth at an outlay of about Rs 190 crore and dredging at an investment of about Rs 80 crore.

Paliwal also said the approach road to the port is being four laned.

The port has a parking facility for 14,000 cars and a new car wash facility is also being added.

Apart from Ford India, the other automobile makers who ship out their vehicles through Kamarajar Port are Renault Nissan, Isuzu, Daimler, Komatsu, Caterpillar and others.

“During 2019-20 about 2,00,000 vehicles were exported through Kamarajar Port. Last year, owing to Covid-19 pandemic, the volumes came down to about 95,000 units. This year we are expecting a volume of about 1,60,000 units,” Paliwal said.

Paliwal said Kamarajar Port is hoping to handle a cargo of about 40 million ton this fiscal with container and bulk cargo business picking up.

The port has bagged new coal clients and has also gone up in the pecking order over other ports like V.O. Chidambaranar Port, Cochin Port, Mangalore Port and Mormugao Port, Paliwal said.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)