On Friday, acting on a tip-off, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at the seaport here seized the drugs, estimated at RM32 million on the international market.
They were packed and declared as foodstuffs.
"The consignment was covered under two shipping bills consigned to Malaysia and declared to contain iodised salt, fried chickpeas, rice flakes and other miscellaneous items," the DRI said in a statement.
The suspects were alleged to have falsely declared two shipping bills of iodised salt, weighing about 13 tonnes.
The DRI investigators discovered that 22 of the 510 bags, packed as iodised salt, contained ketamine hydrochloride.
Each bag weighed about 20kg.
The three middle-aged suspects, all from here, are being held under remand and an export agency in the city is also under the DRI scanner.
This was the second major seizure within a month.
Last November, DRI sleuths captured 197kg of ketamine, also bound for Malaysia, at the Chennai port.
The contraband, camouflaged as red onions, was estimated at RM14.5 million.
Ketamine, which is commonly used in India as a veterinary anaesthetic, is widely used as a party drug. -- Bernama