Visakha Container Terminal (VCT), which developed the country's deepest container terminal here, has achieved a growth of 11.8 per cent during 2009-10 beating the recessionary trend.

The annual throughput was close to 1,00,000 TEUs -- the main exports being ferro alloys, aluminium ingots, seafood, minerals, chemicals, granites and garments. The main imports are refractory stuff, machinery and spares, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wood pulp, food and agro products.

The advantage with VCT, which is in the process of emerging as an ideal gateway to shipping lines and customers connecting AP and rapidly growing hinterland of North, Central and North India with the overseas markets.

VCT is a joint venture between Visakhapatnam Port and DP World and United Liner Agencies (P) Ltd. It commenced the operations in June 26, 2003. The terminal with a natural depth of 16.5 metres alongside can boast of being the only such facility in the country to accommodate the largest container vessel of today at any point of time.

The terminal, which handled 11,516 TEUs in March -- the highest volume handled in a month -- has easy access to seven States within a distance of 750 km.

“Our terminal is equipped with the necessary infrastructure, including two rail mounted quay cranes, two gantry cranes with rubber tyres and four reach stackers. It uses seamless connectivity for all operations and maintains ISO certified standards for operations, safety and environmental protection,” says VCT COO Capt. Sriram Ravi Chander.

Welcome trend

A welcome trend is the increase in the size of vessels calling at VCT due to growing hinterland. Vessels with capacities of 3,500 TEUs are now being handled. Currently, there are 48 lines registered with VCT. New lines are also showing interest due to increased importance of the port. Visakhapatnam Port, which is ranked second among all major ports in the country, offers a rebate of 35 per cent on vessel related charges (pilotage and port dues) for main line vessels and 25 per cent for feeder vessels having GRT of more than 27,000 providing vessel operators an impetus to line up more container cargo to Visakhapatnam.

“With several projects in the pipeline, huge alumina and steel projects in AP, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, we are confident of registering a phenomenal increase in container traffic. There is also possibility of Nepal using VCT as an additional gateway to Kolkata for its export and imports,” points out Capt. Ravi Chander.