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Updated: August 31, 2013 02:26 IST

Kattupalli container terminal set to rev up from next month

N. Anand
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NYK Line, a Japanese shipping firm, announces regular service

After being idle for over two months, Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT) is likely to hum again with renewed vigour, as a couple of shipping lines are either planning trial runs or a regular service from the third week of September.

A leading integrated logistics company from Korea is making a trial run on September 17, followed by a leading shipping company in October.

NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha), one of the leading Japanese shipping companies, has announced a regular service of Thailand Chennai Express (TCX) from September 19 onwards.

Prior to this, NYK Line made an ad hoc call in April to find out the viability, followed by three more trial runs in June to evaluate the cost and technical details.

During the trial period, the vessels brought in auto spare parts and consumer items and in return carried auto spares, tyres, agro products.

Satisfied with the response and quick turnaround of vessel, regular service was announced.

It may be noted, the city plays host to a major port (Chennai), corporate port (Ennore) and non-major port (Kattupalli).

Presently, containers are being handled at Chennai and Kattupalli ports, while cars are exported from Chennai and Ennore ports respectively. Hit by congestion woes at Chennai Port, exporters and importers started using Ennore, Kattupalli and Krishnapatnam ports. The dip in volume of granites, tobacco and containers at Chennai Port speaks in volume about the congestion as well as the prevailing market conditions.

For the record, L&T Kattupalli Port was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on January 30. The Rs. 3,800-crore project is jointly floated by L&T and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. The port also has a full-fledged Container Freight Station (CFS).

Official sources said Japanese automobile majors are ready to use Kattupalli Port as an alternative port to Chennai Port as they were able to reach the venue without any hassles. But the move was deferred for the time being due to lack of connectivity and CFS.

A top official of Kattupalli Port said: “We have excellent facility and customers are ready to use it. But, the need of the hour is the regular call of feeder vessels. It is a question of who will come first, the vessel or the customers? As most of the shipping lines have ongoing contracts with other ports, we have to wait for some more time for them to make changes in their schedule.”

As per the schedule, the port of rotation for TCX Service will be from Laemchabang to Singapore, Port Klang, Kattupalli, Chennai, Port Klang, Singapore to LaemChabang. The vessel will arrive on Thursday.

“Japanese and Korean firms are prevailing upon their shipping agents to use Kattupalli Port as an alternative. So, we can witness lots of activities in the coming days,” said a Custom House Agent.

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