India Plans New Terminal at Port as Ford, Nissan Shipments Rise

India plans to add a new terminal at a southern port as automakers from Ford Motor Co. to Nissan Motor Co. boost exports to counter a slowdown in the local market.

State-owned Kamarajar Port Ltd. in Ennore, north of Chennai, will start construction of the new terminal in 2016, Chairman M.A. Bhaskarachar said in an interview at his office. The state of Tamil Nadu, where the port is located, is home to factories of Renault SA and Hyundai Motor Co.

“All the carmakers jointly have asked for more space,” Bhaskarachar said.

Car exports from India rose an average of about 9 percent in the four years through March 2015, led by Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. In contrast, domestic auto sales rose 1 percent in the period, with deliveries recording the biggest slump in a decade in the 12 months through March 2014 as economic growth slowed and borrowing costs rose.

Formerly known as Ennore Port, shipments from the facility climbed 11 percent in the four months through July, and the port will reach its full capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year by the fiscal year that starts in April 2016, Bhaskarachar said. It is also building a new yard to park cars to ease congestion during month-ends, he said.

The port company will take the new terminal plan to its board in the next two months for approval, Bhaskarachar said.

In a move to expand the facility, the company will call for bids in 15 days to appoint a consultant for setting up a new port adjacent to the existing one, he said. The consultant will have until March 2016 to submit a report on the so-called Greater Kamarajar Port, he said.

Bhaskarachar declined to estimate the cost of the new port.

“I am sure about getting more business,” he said. “Our long-term vision is to construct a new port with at least 20 berths.”

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