In what can be termed as the first step to make the city into a transhipment hub, a Maersk main line container ship E.R. Canberra berthed at Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd (VCTPL) in the early hours of Thursday.

This was a historic occasion as for the first time such a huge main line vessel reached VCTPL carrying 1,000 containers. It brought electronic appliances from China for delivery through feeder vessels at various destinations in the country. It will also take export cargo on its return journey.

The 1996-built ship with a Liberia flag has deadweight of 35,980 tonnes and a length of 201 metres and breadth of 32 metres. It is owned by ER Schiffahrt Gmbh & Cie.

While greeting the main line container vessel and its crew, Capt. Sriram Ravichander, COO of VCTPL presented a memento to the visiting ship Capt. Vedran Pavic.

‘Efforts bear fruit'

Capt. Ravichander expressed happiness that all the efforts which were put in for over a year to connect Visakhapatnam with China finally yielded fruits. Introduction of China service will enable Vizag to attract huge business from Nagpur, Raipur, Delhi, Hyderabad and Guntur, which are presently using other ports. Now Vizag will be a better and convenient option.

While talking to press, he mentioned that as part of the weekly service, Maersk line deployed four Vessels of around 2900 container boxes initially. The service would call Vizag every Wednesday and depart on Thursday with transit time of 15 days between Shanghai to Vizag.

The service would also be extended to Kolkata/Haldia by trainshipping the boxes here. Container movement between Kolkata/Hadia and Vizag would be carried by feeder vessels.

India's container traffic is likely to reach 15 million boxes in next decade from the present 6.5 million. To cater to this growth, more main line vessel services to the city can help in terms of both capacity and performance. VCTPL is the only terminal in India to have a natural draft of 16.5 meters to handle the upcoming bigger size vessels and also has the adequate space to cater to the growing container traffic as compared to the other congested ports on the East Coast.

These vessels ply between Vizag – Tanjung pelapas – Shanghai – Yantian - Tanjung pelapas – Port Klang – Chennai – Vizag.

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