Kolkata, Apr 4 (PTI) The Kolkata Port Trust today reported robust earnings for the 2017-18 financial year, riding on strong cargo traffic and operating income.

The highest traffic of 57.88 million ton of cargo in the fiscal pushed KoPT’s operating surplus (excluding dredging) to Rs 838.05 crore from Rs 659.27 crore in 2016-17, recording a rise of 27.12 per cent.

Operating income stood at Rs 2,046 crore for the year under review compared with Rs 1,778.26 crore in the 2016-17 fiscal, KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar said here today.

Both Haldia Dock and Kolkata Dock Systems handled the biggest numbers of containers, with an overall growth of 3.18 per cent, to a consolidated 7.96 lakh units, he said.

Kumar said both the docks were expanding capacity to handle additional cargo, and railway infrastructure and more space are being added for container cargo.

In Haldia, two outer terminals at Salukhali and Outer Terminal II is under the process of development, which would add at least 2 mt of extra cargo capacity.

About the ongoing spat with Haldia Bulk Terminals, Kumar said a case is on at the International Court of Arbitration, and the hearing had been concluded.

In 2012, HBT, a cargo handling company promoted by ABG group of India and LDA of France, announced its immediate exit from Haldia port, citing unsafe work conditions. However, KoPT had objected to the abrupt termination of the 10-year contract.

Kumar said KoPT has filed damages to the tune of Rs 400 crore, while HBT had claimed damages worth Rs 200 crore.

Meanwhile, Kumar said the contract for the techno-feasibility study of Tajpur port will be awarded next week, and would take another three-four months to get completed.

The Tajpur port will be taken up in the first phase, he said.

KoPT has set up a dedicated support desk for Nepal-bound traffic, Kumar said, adding cargo from that country accounts for about 20 per cent of total cargo traffic.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.