With thrust on encouraging coastal shipping and significant improvement in connectivity to various global destinations, Visakhapatnam Port, which began its commercial operations way back in 1933, is all set to emerge as a transhipment hub.
“Once work on Elevated Freight Corridor to divert goods vehicles from highway which criss-crosses in the city and Integrated Logistics Park near Anakapalle is completed, evacuation of cargo will become very fast giving freight advantage to the trade,” Visakhapatnam Port Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu told The Hindu. Despite the downturn all over the country except a few ports like Kandla and Paradip, Visakhapatnam Port has done exceedingly well by registering a 16 per cent growth rate in container traffic by handling 291,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) during 2015-16. This is expected to grow go up to 320,000 to 340,000 TEU with a growth rate of 15-20 per cent.
“Our performance is quite encouraging, mainly due to focus on coastal shipping. We could bring containers from Kolkata-Haldia in small vessels and tranship them to Mundra in Gujarat,”
Visakha Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd COO Sushil Mulchandani said. Containers are now able to reach here from Kolkata and transhipped to Jebel Ali near Dubai.
VCTPL, a special purpose vehicle set up by DP World and United Liner Agencies of India (Pvt.) Ltd has built the all-weather container terminal here under BOT in 2003. It is the deepest terminal among major ports in the country with a depth of 16.5 metres. It has a quay length of 450m and permissible draught of 15m. VCTPL will undertake its expansion at a cost of Rs.633 crore shortly.
VCTPL can handle Emma Maersk – the world’s largest container ship owned by the AP Moller-Maersk Group in future. It can carry 15,000 containers. Since last year, it has been receiving regularly M.V. Sebarok carrying over 6,000 containers with an overall length of 318 metres.
Visakhapatnam is closer to Singapore by 30 km than Chennai. It has regular service to Singapore, Dubai, Jebel Ali and Colombo. Efforts are being made to connect it directly with Dhaka by month-end so as to send containers laden with cotton and other material to Pangaon and other river ports of Bangladesh.
Visakhapatnam is also set to emerge as EXIM gateway for Nepal with the Himalayan country signing agreement with India in February.
Source: The Hindu