Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari has sought a special package for the modernisation of the public-sector Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) to make it financially strong in the face of stiff competition from private ports.

In a letter Union Minister for Shipping and Ports G.K. Vasan, Ms. Purandeswari expressed concern at the ‘neglect of VPT' which could push the 71-year-old port to the brink of doom. She felt that the newly established modern ports like the Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL) could threaten the existence of VPT unless steps were taken to modernise it.

She noted that the draft of GPL is 19 m and presently this draft could handle ships of 1,50,000 metric tonnes. This draft was planned to be increased further to 21 m in future. The draft at VPT is only 14 m and it can handle general cargo only. Two berth operations are necessary to handle ships of more than 30,000 tonnes.

The discharge operations are fully mechanised at GPL and hence it is possible to achieve around 40,000 tonnes a day. At VPT, the discharge operations are semi-mechanised.

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