Container terminal operators express concern over two ports

On Thursday night, the L&T Kattupalli Port wore a festive look as it received its first commercial vessel.

The vessel belonging to NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha), one of the leading Japanese shipping companies, arrived at 10 p.m. from Port Klang to mark the commencement of regular service of Thailand Chennai Express (TCX) at Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT).

Prior to this, NYK Line conducted four trial runs to study the Port’s capability, evaluate cost and technical details. Satisfied with the outcome of the trial, NYK Line announced weekly services of TCX on regular basis.

During its short stay, TCX discharged 180 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers carrying components for Toyota cars. Customs formalities were on for early evacuation of containers. On Friday early morning, TCX sailed to Chennai International Terminal Private Ltd.

L&T officials said it was dream come true for them as they had to wait for several months to receive the first commercial vessel. Though the facility was ready nearly a year ago, it was officially inaugurated by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on January 30.

While the exporters and importers were happy that they have an alternative port, apart from Chennai, to carry out exim business, the container terminal operators have started to worry.

“How long can a shipping line keep calling at both the ports, which are at a distance of 30 kms? Today the ports might be offering huge discounts to lure the shipping lines, but it would not last for ever. All of a sudden, the shipping lines might stop calling one of the ports as it does not make business sense during the slowdown,” said a Custom House agent. Port officials expressed satisfaction on the expansion of road work carried out by the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company from Vallur junction to Ennore Port and construction of bridge at Napalayam.

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