Concession agreements signed for developing three world-class berths
Falling cargo notwithstanding, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust has signed concession agreements for developing three world-class berths to realise its dream of handling 110 million tonnes by 2014-15.
Concession agreements for 30 years were signed after obtaining government permission sometime ago for dismantling and reconstructing EQ-1 and EQ-2 berths and creating a Greenfield berth EQ-7 in between the two old berths in an area of 25 acres. The construction of three fully mechanised berths in the Inner Harbour will involve a total investment of little over Rs. 1,000 crore under Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) method.
VPT, which is facing public wrath for causing dust pollution in the city, is confident of putting an end to it with completion of complete mechanisation within a couple of years. “It will soon become most preferred port in South East Asia because of its strategic location and facilities,” a senior VPT official told The Hindu.
VPT retained its second position behind Kandla by handling 67.42 million tonne during 2011-12 as against 68.04 million tonne the previous year.
The fall in two per cent cargo in major ports was attributed to global meltdown impact.
This year as per projections the fall is expected to be five per cent.
VPT Chairman Ajeya Kallam recently stated that the port handled 21 million tonne till mid-August compared to 24 million tonne during the corresponding period last year due to less intake of iron ore by China and fall in transshipment cargo due to setting up of Single Point Mooring facility at Paradip.
Officials hope that the launching of work on three new berths would give a fillip to the ongoing modernisation works.
While fertilizer will be handled at EQ-7, steam coal and thermal coal will be handled respectively in EQ-1 and EQ-2. The construction is expected to be completed in two years to handle nearly 19 million tonnes a year.
The mechanisation of General Cargo Berth is continuing on a fast-track. Mr. Kallam said in his Independent Day address that higher output rate of coal through mechanised handling would put an end to environmental concerns by the denizens. EQ-1 and EQ-2 were the first berths built at Visakhapatnam Port in 1933.
These were operated with shallow draft facility using monoliths.
All the berths, VPT officials say, will be truly world-class as they will be equipped with ship loaders, wagon tippler, stacker reclaimers and conveyors.