Gears itself to handle throughput of 65 million tonnes this fiscal

The Visakhapatnam Port has geared itself up to handle a throughput of 65 million tonnes during the current fiscal after retaining second slot after Kandla during the first half.

Recession, competition posed by commissioning of the Gangavaram Port and the diversion of transhipment cargo to Paradip after a pipeline was laid to Haldia are cited as the reasons for no quantum jump in traffic routed through Visakhapatnam Port.

On the whole, the performance is impressive and the officials exude confidence of maintaining steady rise in throughput with grandiose plans underway for capacity augmentation and addition of new berths to face challenges ahead.

During the first half, Kandla topped among all major ports by handling 39.34 million tonnes followed by Visakhapatnam 33.04 and Chennai 30.47 million tonnes as against a target of 38.56, 32.99 and 31.65 million tonnes respectively.

During the corresponding period in 2008-09, Kandla handled 37.85 followed by Visakhapatnam 33.13, Mumbai 30.34 and Chennai 29.24 million tonnes.

Both Kandla and Visakhapatnam have achieved the target set for them during first half though several ports had failed to so, according to tentative figures released by Indian Ports Association.

Gangavaram Port, which is a minor port developed under public-private participation format, is trying to make a dent into Visakhapatnam Port by harping on faster cargo handling and total mechanisation.

It has commissioned five berths in the first phase at a cost of Rs.1800 crores. Due to recession, it has no immediate plans to go ahead with its proposed phase-wise expansion to enhance the capacity to 200 million tonnes by having 29 berths. It is expecting to achieve traffic of 13 to 15 million tonnes during 2009-10. Gangavaram has agreements with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited and JSW Steel and trying for tie-up with alumina projects like Anrak, JSW Aluminium, Vedanta and Nalco.

Capacity-building

To increase its capacity to 125 million tonnes by 2012, Visakhapatnam Port is investing Rs.2600 crores on capacity addition, new berths, mechanisation of coal and fertilizer handling and phase-II deepening of inner harbour entrance channel.

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