SWOT Analysis of Chennai Port (An ISO 14001: 2004 Certified Port)
Prof. Avinash Purandare
National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR),
25/1, Balewadi, Pune-411045, India, phone 9890968448 (M) Email:
Dr. Shailesh P. Kasande
Director, Vishwakarma Institute of Management, S.No. 3/4, Kondhwa,
Pune-411048, India, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SWOT Analysis of Chennai Port (An ISO 14001: 2004 Certified Port)
Chennai Port established in 1639, is the gateway port of India’s eastern coast
and is the 2nd largest port in terms of cargo handled. It has a channel length
of 7 kilometres, harbour length of 5.5 kilometres, and advantage of having a
deep draft of upto16 meters allowing it to handle large vessels. The Port
handles a variety of cargo including containers, automobile exports, POL, coal,
fertilizers and general cargo items. It has infrastructure facilities of
container terminal, oil terminals, RORO terminal and bulk container handling
terminal for handling a variety of cargo. The Port has a large hinterland
consisting of the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and
Pondicherry. The Port has very good opportunities due to India’s growing
international trade and the large hinterland serviced by it. The government of
India plans to develop Chennai Port for a greater role in India’s Maritime trade
and towards this purpose the SWOT analysis has been carried out.
1. Background of the Study
Maritime trade started way back in 1639 on the sea shore of Chennai. It was at
that time only a stretch of sandy coastline. It was in 1861 that piers were
built in the port but subsequent storms damaged these piers. Therefore an
artificial harbour was built and the operations were started in 1881.The cargo
operations were carried out on the northern pier, located on the north-eastern
side of Fort St. George in Chennai. During the first couple of years, the port
registered traffic of 3 lakh tonnes of cargo handled through 600 ships. The port
was an artificial harbour and was vulnerable to cyclones and accumulation of
sand brought in by the natural currents. This sand accumulation reduced the
draft of the port and therefore reduced the opportunity for bigger vessels to
visit the port. Sir Francis Spring a visionary first made the plans for
development of the port in a scientific manner so as to overcome the man-made
and natural challenges. The ports entrance was shifted from the eastern side to
the North Eastern side to protect the port from natural vulnerabilities. By 1920
the port had four quays along with the transit-sheds, warehouses and a big
marshalling yard to facilitate the transfer of cargo from land to sea and vice
versa. Chennai Port is the third oldest port among the 13 major ports in India,
and 2nd largest Port in India in terms of cargo handled. It achieved the
milestone of handling 50 Million tonnes of cargo in March 2007 itself and also
is an emerging hub port on the East Coast of India.
The total quay length available is around 5.5 km. The port has three Docks, 24
berths and a draft ranging from 12 meters to 16.5 meters and has become a hub
port for Containers, Cars and Project Cargo in the East Coast. The long term
plan for Chennai Port envisages that the Port will mainly handle 4C’s i.e.
Containers, Cars, Cruise and Clean Cargo.
Chennai Port was the first port to start container handling operations in 1983
which were handed over to CCTL (Chennai Container Terminal Ltd.) in 2001 for
operating under BOT basis. A second container terminal has recently been awarded
to PSA SICAL at Ambedkar dock recently to augment the container operations.
PSA’s Chennai International Terminals Pvt. Ltd. is the latest and newer
Container Terminal in Chennai Port and is ideally positioned to tap the high
growth Chennai region. It serves an ever growing hinterland and caters to the
fast growing automobile, pharmaceuticals, textile, leather, light engineering
and chemical manufacturing units. The terminal is designed to accommodate and
cater to the new generation of deep-draft container vessels. Having the
capability of handling fourth generation vessels, the terminal is ranked in the
top 100 container ports in the world. Witnessing a phenomenal growth in
container handling year after year the port is added with the Second Container
Terminal with a capacity to handle 1.5 M TEUs to meet the demand. The terminal’s
connectivity to Inland Container Depot (ICD) destinations is enhanced by its own
seamless rail connection. It is ideally positioned to serve the growing Rail
Container Traffic generated by Rail logistic operators. PSA’s Chennai
International Terminals Pvt Ltd is a 100% subsidiary of PSA International of
Singapore. PSA International is one of the leading global port groups. PSA
participates in port projects across Asia, Europe and the Americas with flagship
operations in PSA Singapore Terminals and PSA Antwerp. Employing the finest
talents in the industry, PSA delivers reliable and best-in-class service to its
customers and develops win-win relationships with its partners. As the port
operator of choice in the world's gateway hubs, PSA is “The World's Port of
Call”. PSA International has been voted “Best Global Container Terminal
Operating Company” at the Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards.
2. Strengths of the Chennai Port
· Chennai Port is considered as one of the preferred Ports for trade, due to its
location, proximity to industries, competitive pricing, and safe and secure
· There is 7.0 km of entrance channel with the depth of outer channel being 19.2
m and that of the inner channel being 18.6 m. The Port has a total land area of
240 ha (approx.).
· The planned terminal capacity is 1.50 Million TEUs. PSA International is one
of the leading global port groups.
· Master plan has been prepared for Port Railway, Realigning Rail and Road
· Dedicated Elevated Expressway from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal up to NH4 has
been approved by the Government to enhance the hinterland connectivity.
· Development of Ro-Ro Terminal and a Multi level car parking facility with a
capacity of 5000 cars. Chennai Mega Container Terminal with a continuous quay
length of 2 km with 18-22m draft.
· Capable of handling ultra large container ships carrying over 15000 TEU’s.
· The break water extension from existing outer arm will be utilized to develop
deep draft oil berth for handling VLCCs.
· Geographical Location
Latitude: 13° 06’ N; Longitude: 80° 18’ E; Climate: Tropical;
Time: +5 Hrs. 30 Minutes; Temperature: 30°C Max. 18°C Min.; Annual Rainfall: 125
Cms.; Spring Tides: 1.2 Metres; Water Area: 420.00 acres Land Area: 586.96 acres
· Navigation Channel (Entrance Channel)
Soil: Predominantly sandy and silt; Length of Channel: About 7 kilometres;
Depth of Inner Channel: 18.6m at chart datum; Depth of Outer Channel: 19.2m at
Swell Allowance: 3.00 Metres;
Width of Channel: The width of channel gradually increases from 244m to 410m at
the bent portion and then maintains a constant width of 305m;
Total Length of Breakwater
Eastern Breakwater: 1325m; Northern Breakwater: 575m;
Eastern Breakwater: 590m; Northern Breakwater: 460m;
Outer Arm: 1000m; Upper Pitch Revetment: 950m;
Entrance in Bharathi Dock: 350m; Entrance in Dr. Ambedkar Dock: 125m;
Transit Shed/over flow shed: 7 Nos. – 30,693 sq.mts; Warehouse: 5 Nos. - 30,138
Container Freight Station: 3 Nos. - 40,644 sq.mts; Open space: 3,84,611 sq.mts;
Container parking Yard: 2,50,600 sq.mts.
Oil Terminals (BD1 & BD3)
o First Oil berth at Bharathi Dock-I commissioned in 1972 can handle tankers up
to 100,000 DWT.
o Second Oil Berth at Bharathi Dock-III commissioned in 1986 can handle tankers
up to 140,000 DWT
o Maximum LOA of Tankers Berthed at BD -I & BD - III - 280.4m (920 ft).
o Minimum LOA of the ship so far Berthed at BD - I - 108.15m.
o Minimum LOA of the ships berthed at BD - III - 149M. or 488 ft.
o Capacity - 13 Million Tonnes Per Annum
o Installed with 5 Marine Loading Arms at BD - I and 6 Marine Loading Arms at BD
- III. Berths laid with 762 mm (30") dia pipelines for conveying Crude, 500 mm
(20") dia pipeline for conveying White Oil Product and 350 mm (14") dia
pipelines for conveying Furnace Oil.
o Separate Pipelines for Crude, Furnace Oil, White Oil Products, Deballasting,
Tower Monitor, Fire Hydrant and Fresh Water
o Service Lines for LDO Bunker, Furnace Oil Bunker and Lubricant Oil Bunker
o The facilities include pumping at the rate of 3000 Tonnes per hour for Crude
oil and 1000 Tonnes per hour for Petroleum Products.
o Provision of Oil reception facilities in accordance with MARPOL convention for
receiving oily ballast, sludge and slop.
o Both the jetties are equipped with fire monitors
o There is a separate fire fighting pump house with diesel and electrically
driven pumps to supply fire hydrant and tower monitors.
o Mechanised Ore handling Plant commissioned in 1977 at Bharathi Dock-II
o Can handle Ore carriers of maximum size 1,45,000 DWT and LOA of 280.4 metres
o Capacity - 8 Million Tonnes Per Annum
o Loading rate - 6000 Tonnes per hour
o Capable of receiving, stockpiling, reclaiming, weighing, sampling and ship
o Ore handling facilities consists of two rotary wagon tipplers, ten lines of
conveyors, two rail-mounted stackers, two rail-mounted bucket-wheel reclaimers
and two rail-mounted ship loaders.
o Equipped with automatic belt weigher, sampling facilities, self-contained
maintenance workshop and a service station
o Separate receiving line and shipping line, which can also function as
o Availability of two control rooms for the automatic operation of various
equipment and conveyors.
o Well connected rail lines
o Back-up of 33 KV receiving sub-station
o Ore Stock Yard - Capacity - 6.4 Lakh tonnes
o Rotary Wagon Tippler can handle 1200 MT/hr at the rate of 20 wagons per hour
o Receiving Conveyors (4 Nos.) can handle 1500 MT/hr/stream of two conveyors.
o Shipping Conveyors (6 Nos.) can handle 4000 MT/hr/stream of three conveyors.
o Rated capacity of Stackers - 1500 MT/hr each
o Rated capacity of the Reclaimer - 3000 MT/hr each
o Rated capacity of Ship loaders - 3000 MT/hr each
· Container Terminals
o Container Terminal -1 (CTB 1, CTB 2, CTB 3, CTB 4 ) CCTPL :- Quay Length -
885m, Depth - 13.4m, Ground Slots - 3942, Yard Capacity - 19710, Reefer Plugs -
240, Quay Cranes - 7, RTG's - 24, ICD Trains - Daily.
o Container Terminal - 2 (SCB1, SCB2, SCB3 CITPL):- Quay Length - 832m, Depth -
15.5m, Ground Slots - 5424, Yard Capacity - 27120, Reefer Plugs - 120, Quay
Cranes - 3, RTG's - 10, ICD Trains - Daily.
o Chennai Port is an ISPS Compliant Port.
o Chennai Port Trust awarded with Certification of ISO 14001: 2004.
o 24 deep drafted berths.
o All weather port.
o Round the clock operations.
o Handling multiple cargo, Third position among all Major Ports in terms of
cargo handled in India.
o Berthing on arrival.
o Passenger terminal of international standard.
o First of its kind in Indian Ports, Chennai Port has established the Marine
Pollution Management to ensure Protection for Marine life.
o EDI connectivity with Customs, Bank, Online Port users Portal established and
various port activities for the effective use of information technology under
o Excellent Rail Connectivity.
o Future Development Plan as of 10.03.2015
o Elevated four lane Link road from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal
Estimated Cost -Rs1655cr. (Civil Works- 1345cr; LA & R&R- Rs310 crs.)
Revised Estimate Cost -Rs1815 Crs. (Civil Works: Rs1345 Crs. R&R: Rs 470 Crs)
ChPT and GOTN will be sharing the cost of LA and R&R equally.
Project Starts from War Memorial gate of Chennai Port and runs upto Maduravoyal
for a length of 19.01 kms, which runs along Cooum river bank upto Koyambedu and
along NH 4 thereafter.
Proposal included under NHDP Phase VII and BOT tender awarded to Soma Enterprise
Ltd., Hyderabad in Jan, 2009 by NHAI
Foundation Stone laid by the Honourable PM on 8.1.2009.
Concession period - 15 years (incl. Construction period of 3 yrs.).
Construction Period - 3 Years: Scheduled Date of completion 13.09.2013
ChPT has released and amount of' 51.01 crores towards its share of LA and R&R
for the project.
For the enhanced LA and R&R cost ChPT pursuing with MoS.
The overall Physical Progress achieved as on March 2012 is 14.79%.
Work not progressing in alignment of Cooum river due to issues raised by WRD,
PWD, and GoTN.
NHAI filed a WP in Honourable High Court of Madras against the stop notice by
GoTN and as one of the respondents Chennai Port has also filed a counter and
additional counter affidavits.
Modernisation of Chennai Port
o Stage I work: Realigning of rail and road network inside the Harbour at an
estimated cost of'40 crores was taken up and work completed.
o Stage II works will be taken up after lying of 3rd and 4th railway line by
Southern Railway which the process of Transfer of land is under progress.
· Creation of Additional Storage Open Area by reclamation.
o Stage I – works
o Creation of additional space of 7.8 hectares by Reclamation behind East Quay
o Construction of Rubble Mound Revetment completed on 30.08.08. The same was
damaged during cyclone and a Contract work was awarded on 25.06.12 for
rectifying the damage at a cost of'2.39 Crores. The contract was foreclosed due
to further damage of revetment during cyclone 'Nilam' on 30.10.2012. Fresh
Tender invited and the Contract awarded to a contractor on 27.08.2013 at a cost
of '4.82 Crs. Physical progress is 38%.
o Stage II - work for creating additional space of 60 hectares near gate No. 1
is deferred since this area is covered under area earmarked for proposed New
Outer Harbour to the north of the Bharathi Dock.
· Deepening of Channels, Basins and Berths
o Stage I - work for Modernization of Six Jawahar Dock Berths for deepening to
-14m CD (Estimated Cost of '43.54 crs)
o Berth modernization works are completed in all the berths except a meagre
portion at JD east (JDVI)
o Capital dredging work at Dr. Ambedkar Dock, Jawahar Dock.
· The work was awarded on 26.07.12, and the physical progress of Maintenance
Dredging is 100% & Capital Dredging is 71%.
3. Weaknesses of the Chennai Port
· Congested approach road.
· Traffic evacuation not allowed during the day time.
· Restricted land availability.
· Higher tariffs for use of plants & equipments.
· Sub-optimal usage of rail connectivity.
· Exposure to dust & saline environment, requiring higher maintenance expense.
· Perceived need for improvement in service levels to retain existing clients,
avoid them being lost to other ports and for developing new ones.
· Efficiencies lower and tariffs levels higher than those in international ports
in the region like Singapore, Colombo, Hong Kong and Dubai.
· Need for additional environment / pollution management.
· Surplus labour of about 600 in different departments.
· Restriction on investment of surplus fund to government securities and
nationalized banks fixed deposits.
· High turnover among skilled staff in marine department like pilots and marine
· Inadequate manpower to operate the dredgers round the clock resulting in lower
utilization of dredgers and higher fixed costs thereby increasing overall cost
· Port does not have fully computerized management accounting system.
· Lack of systematic marketing and Customer Relationship Management skills /
4. Opportunities of the Chennai Port
· The Port serves the geographical regions of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, South
Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka and has now emerged as a hub on the east
coast of India.
· Major cargo being handled at the Port are Containers, Automobiles Exports,
POL, Iron Ore, Coal, Fertilizers (products and raw materials), and general cargo
· The Chennai port is one among the major ports having Terminal Shunting Yard
and running their own Railway operations inside the harbour on the East Coast.
· To cater to the latest generation of vessels and to exploit the steep increase
in containerized cargo the port is planning to welcome the future with a Mega
Container Terminal, capable of handling 5 Million TEUs.
· Positive economic environment in the years to come with an anticipated 7% GDP
growth rate, stable inflation and foreign exchange rates and rising
· Increasing containerisation and good forecasted demand with strong business
· Strong forecasted growth in automobile exports.
Increased ship sizes.
· Possibility to tap other sources of revenue:
· Ship Repair facilities and services to Ship Owners.
· Engineering Consultancy Services to Other Ports.
· Provision of Marine Services/BOT services to other Ports.
· Management & Technical consultancy & training services to other smaller ports.
· JV or strategic investment with minor / intermediate ports.
· Potential to attract main line vessels.
· Better road connectivity after construction of proposed road projects.
· To facilitate cruise tourism by construction of a cruise terminal and marina.
· Increased focus on private-public-partnerships and the landlord model of port
5. Threats of the Chennai Port
· Threats analyse the competitiveness required in the light of developing
neighbouring ports. (Ennore, Karaikal, Tuticorin, Katupalli, Krishnapatnam,
Kakinada, and Visakhapatnam Ports).
· The elevated four lane link road from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal is under
After hearing proceedings, the judgment has been delivered by Honorable High
Court in favour of Chennai Port and NHAI.
However, a SLP has been filed by WRD, PWD, and GoTN in Honorable Supreme Court
against the judgment delivered by Honorable High Court. NHAI & Chennai Port
Trust filed impede petitions against the SLP.
During the last hearing on 07.04.2014, the Honorable Supreme Court directed all
the parties to name an expert body to address the grievances of the State
Hence, NHAI is being requested to submit the name of the Expert body to the
Honorable Supreme Court.
· Competition from major ports especially from Ennore and Tuticorin port.
· Competition from minor ports mainly from Krishnapatnam.
· Expected ban on export of minerals.
· Loss of lucrative cargo like coal & iron ore.
· Increase in awareness among common public about environmental issues.
· There are too many gates providing access to port, increasing vulnerability
and efforts to maintain security.
· High possibility of reduction in government funding.
The main strengths of Chennai Port is due to proximity to a large number of
industries including automobiles, coal, fertilisers, ores, oil and project
cargo. The strategic location of the port on the east coast enables it to be
connected to over 50 international ports. The geographical features of the port
include quay length of 5.5 km, and a draft of 16 metres which enables it to
handle large vessels. Chennai Port itself services the hinterland of the states
of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Pondicherry and this gives it a
good customer base. Chennai Ports weakness is due to the restricted land
availability as it is situated within Chennai city limits. The efficiency of
Chennai port is lower than other competing international container ports in the
region such as Singapore, Colombo and Dubai. The tariff levels of Chennai port
are also higher than other international ports in the region and hence Chennai
Port looses business to these competing International Ports. There is surplus
labour at the port due to it being a government controlled port and this brings
down the competitiveness of the port. There is a problem due to congested roads
while approaching the port and this affects the inland connectivity of the port.
The threats to the port are from the International Ports in the geographical
area such as Singapore, Dubai and Colombo which are increasing their capacity.
Also increasing competition is coming from the new ports which includes both
government controlled ports and private ports. This includes the Ennore Port
which is corporatised and Vallapadum which is the private port. The ban on
export of mineral ore can affect the future business prospects of the Port. The
coal and iron business can also shift to the nearby Ennore Port. Chennai Port
will have rising business opportunities due to India’s GDP growing steadily at
over 7% and also India’s growing international trade. The major cargoes such as
Containers, Automobiles Exports, POL, Iron ore fertilizers and general Cargo
items shall provide growth for the port. There is also a strong forecasted
growth in automobile exports. The planned increase in draft at the port and
building of new container terminals will enable bigger size vessels to visit the
port and lead to a boom in business. The long term opportunity for the Chennai
Ports growth will mainly come from the four C’s Containers, Cars, Cruise and
Clean Cargoes Business.
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