Congestion pushes manufacturers to explore Krishnapatnam port, 190 km away

City-based manufacturers have one more reason to rejoice as they have an option to export their goods from a new venue instead of depending solely on Chennai Port which is congested. This time, it happens to be Krishnapatnam Port, which is about 190 km from Chennai.

Maersk, one of the biggest shipping companies in the world, has announced Maersk Dauphin would make an ad hoc call at Krishnapatnam Port on June 16 to evacuate empty and laden boxes to Busan (South Korea), Qingdao (China) and Kwangyang (South Korea). Besides, it is also offering exporters an option to deliver cargo at Concor Chennai for railing to Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT) for loading.

Described as an all-weather port with no tidal restrictions, KPCT has a capacity to handle 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers in the first phase. It has a 19-km railway line connecting the port to Chennai-Kolkata main line, ready infrastructure and Commissionerate to clear cargoes. Plans are on to convert the port into a southern gateway.

On the other hand, the newly constructed L&T Kattupalli port, which is about 30 km from Chennai city, also received notification from the Centre to operate as a trans-shipment facility. L&T officials are trying their best to get the notification amended to enable import and export of all types of cargoes.

Talking to The Hindu, a leading port user said that the red carpet welcome offered by the KPCT should serve as a wake-up call to the Chennai Port as trade has been suffering for the last two years owing to congestion issue associated with surcharges. The delay not only inflated their bill but also sent their production schedule for a toss.

Referring to the proposed move, a leading exporter said, “It takes more than a day to reach Chennai Port zero gate from Ernavur bridge, which is nine km away. But, it would take only about four hours to reach Krishnapatnam. At present, it is a four-lane expressway, which is being converted into six-lane and would be easier to transport goods.”

Two years from now, the KPCT would be the port that would be offering fierce competition to Chennai, Ennore and L&T Kattupalli ports. It is being built on the lines of European ports and will offer all sorts of facilities. It has six rail sidings and locomotives, said a person associated with the port.

Interestingly on Friday, the Chennai Port Trust authorities held a meeting with stakeholders to find ways to improve business volume. Last year, the ChPT made marginal profit, despite a fall in iron ore and coal movement. They also expressed concern following a dip in container volumes and granite business. The KPCT, which started container operations a few months ago, is yet to announce its tariff.


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