The L&T Kattupalli Port will play a supporting role and will not compete with facilities in the neighbourhood, Chief Operating Officer G. Gandhirajan said on Monday.

A similar observation was made by the newly appointed Ennore Port Chairman-cum-Managing Director M.A. Bhaskarachar at a private function here on Friday.

Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) Chairman Atulya Misra said that ports on the eastern coast had better prospects as trade towards the east would boom in coming years and this would not pose a major challenge for the existing facilities.

Though it might seem that the top bosses were speaking in same tenor to seek the support of trade as volumes are dropping owing to the global economic crisis, in reality, they were trying to prevent diversion of trade to the newly built containerised port at Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, which is 190 km from Chennai.

Till December 2012, ChPT recorded a dip in its trade volume, while the gainers were Krishnapatnam and Ennore ports for containers, project cargo, coal and bulk cargo.

Vessels have started calling in at Krishnapatnam, while the Kattupalli Port is awaiting arrival of its maiden vessel after its formal launch on January 30.

When the trade raised queries on what differentiated the Kattupalli Port from others, Mr. Gandhirajan said that it was conceived and completed in 33 months; had a six-lane gate complex that functions 24x7; a container freight station (CFS) inside the complex; separate blocks for Customs, Immigration and port users and L shaped berths with a depth of 14 metres for handling large container vessels.

Mr. Gandhirajan said that that the tariff was posted on its website and the rates were comparable with those of ChPT and Ennore ports. Since it was a minor port, it was outside the ambit of the Tariff Advisory for Major Ports and would consult the trade before effecting a revision. Similar trade meets will be held in Coimbatore and Bangalore.