Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port, or more frequently called, Kolkata Port is the the oldest and only riverine major port in India. However, being one of the busiest ports in India, it is always prone to the risks of accidents and severe traffic jams. The dock system in the city, which was once outside the city is now in the heart of the city – hence the heavy cargo vehicles face as well as create traffic restrictions. As a measure to combat the situation, the State Government has decided to issue destination-bound color coded tokens to the trucks via email. The move comes with the goal to ensure that the most difficult vehicles on the road get a safe and unclogging way to and from the port area. All the trucks entering the city will need their respective color coded token to proceed inland.
Firhad Hakim, Minister of Transport in Kolkata, met with the traffic police officers yesterday in support of the idea. According to him, the cargo transporting trucks not only cause traffic jams on the city roads but also add to the pollution levels of the city. Everyday, ~800 trucks travel through the Kolkata Port area through Garden Reach, Circular Road, Kidderpore Road, Hastings and Vidyasagar Setu.
A spokesperson for the Container Shipping Lines Association – a trade union that represents container lines operations in India – the ban on heavy vehicle traffic in and out of the port area, during the day time, has caused much chaos as imports are now being piled up at the port and causing delays. The terminal/vessel operations are being negatively impacted. As per a port official, the ban has severely affected the EXIM movement via Kolkata Port.
The transport department of Kolkata has also advised the Port authorities to start a Roll On-Roll Off (RoRo) service for the trucks. This service will focus on facilitating movement of trucks on ferries, thereby, avoiding the city traffic.