Santosh Patnaik

Promoters for making it operational by the year-end

VISAKHAPATNAM: After weathering protests over rehabilitation and resettlement package, the Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL) is racing against time to make the port operational by this year-end.

The port, being developed under public-private participation by forming a special purpose vehicle, will be expanded in phases. The construction work is going on at a fast pace and indications suggest that the port will be commissioned with five berths.

Harbour depth

The all-weather, deepwater, multi-purpose world-class port will have one iron ore and a coal berth and three multipurpose berths. It will have a harbour depth of 21 metres – said to be the deepest among all Indian ports.

With the port promoters – DVS Raju and consortium – keen on making it fully mechanised – it is bound to pose tough competition to the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, India’s premier major port. The Gangavaram port management wants to handle 22 million tonnes initially and later enhance it to 85 million tonnes. Though a minor port, it will have fully automated handling facility for coal, iron ore and container material. It will have mobile cranes for bulk and break cargoes with excellent road and rail connectivity. It will be beneficial to the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and the NTPC Simhadri because it is nearer, helping them to cut down their freight expenses.

Back-up area

Sources said the GPL has back-up area of 2,800 acres for transit storage and blending. The management also promises to provide a faster turnaround time with no pre-berthing delays. With Gopalpur being developed into an all-weather port in South Orissa in private sector and Kakinada in the neighbourhood offering competitive handling charges, Visakhapatnam Port is also gearing up to face competition by augmenting its infrastructure with an outlay of over Rs.3,000 crores.