The mechanised fertiliser berth at the Visakhapatnam Port Trust which is expected to improve the operational efficiency and reduce pollution at the port is likely to be ready by end of 2014, CEO of bulk cargo handler ABG-LDA Bulk Handling Private Limited Gurpreet Mahi said.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Friday night to mark achievement of financial closure for the fertiliser berth project, he said that it would take roughly two years to execute the project estimated to cost Rs 310 crore. The project which would largely obviate the need for multiple handling is being funded by a consortium of four banks headed by the SBH.

“Vizag Agriport Private Ltd., a joint venture between ABG-LDA and IL&FS Maritime, has taken up the project, with a capacity of 6 million tonnes per annum. We are confident of commissioning it ahead of schedule, sometime towards the end of 2014,” he said. Referring to the other major project, a multi-cargo mechanised berth currently under execution by the ABG, he said it would be ready for commissioning by the end of December. “The berth, estimated to cost Rs 155 crores, is for handling steel, granite and other bulk cargoes. It will have a capacity of roughly 5 million tonnes per annum,” he said. Referring to other ports in the State, he said IL&FS Maritime had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh Government for setting up a 2.5 million tonne per annum LNG terminal at Kakinada and the project was still in the preliminary stages.

Gurpreet Malhi said ABG-LDA had taken up a fully mechanised coal handling berth at Tuticorin with an annual capacity of 14 million tonnes and it would be ready for commercial operations by the first quarter of 2014-15 financial year.