Sequel to shortage of sand for container terminal extension project

The shortage of excavated sand from sediments dredged in ‘sand trap’ – extending over three to four km between the sunken ship and breakwater area – by Visakhapatnam port for beach nourishment is likely to cast a shadow on the container terminal extension project.

Already delayed

Sea reclamation for 34 km is required to facilitate extension of the terminal, the grounding of which is already delayed. Board of Trustees of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, after protracted discussions over sharing of gross revenue, finally gave its stamp of approval for issuing Letter of Approval to Visakha Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd (VCTPL) on December 27, 2013. The concession agreement between VPT and VCTPL is yet to be signed.

Once the extension work is completed, the terminal will have an additional capacity of 0.54 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

When asked to comment on the requirement, VPT Deputy Chairman G.V.L. Satya Kumar said on average they excavate four lakh cubic metres by dredging in the ‘sand trap’ per annum. The quantity of sand was falling for past few years due to variety of factors. Given this, the reclamation work by VCTPL would have to use boulders.

Sources told The Hindu that if the port formally expresses its helplessness in providing sand for reclamation, VCTPL, a joint venture between DP World and United Liners Agencies, may have to use boulders and landfill in Lova Gardens generated due to the construction of South and South East Asia’s first LPG cavern built in the city.

The other option is to quarry sand near Anakapalle, subject to approval of experts, and bring it in.

The cost of container terminal extension, which was originally estimated at Rs.633.11 crore has shot up to Rs.820 crore due to increase in the cost of fuel, construction material and fluctuation in dollar rate. VCTPL, which built the existing terminal under BOT a decade ago, handled 2.47 lakh TEU in 2012-13 and is expected to have a throughput of around 2.65 lakh TEU during current fiscal.