Goa port imports wood to tide over mining ban loss

Panaji, June 14 (IANS) With no sign of the iron ore mining ban being lifted, Goa's only major port, the MPT is now looking to wooden chips from Australia to earn revenue and pay its salary bills.

P. Mara Pandian, chairman of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), said Friday that the public sector undertaking had secured a contract to import wood chips from Australia for a Karnataka-based paper manufacturing unit.

A cargo vessel, MV Anda Lucia, has arrived this week with over 40,000 tonnes of wooden chips intended for the West Coast Paper Mills unit in Karnataka.

The port is expecting over 12 such consignments through the financial year.

"At a time when iron ore has diminished, the port is making extra efforts to bring in new commodities such as wheat, maize and wood," Pandian said.

"The import of wood chips throughout the year will boost the income of the port," he said, adding it would also bring welcome relief to the port's finances.

The port, which almost wholely dealt with iron ore traditionally, has had to adapt to importing and exporting other commodities after the iron ore ban by the Supreme Court in October.

In the recent past the port also dealt in commodities such as wheat and granite in order to tide over the rough cash-strapped times.

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