Special Correspondent

Port handled 57.49 million tonnes of cargo in the last financial year

CHENNAI: A small portion of the new quay line of the Chennai Port Trust’s second container terminal will become operational by April-end and fully operational within 4-5 months, said its Chairman K. Suresh on Friday. Talking to newsmen at the construction site of Rs.495-crore second container terminal, he said civil works were on. Trial operations on a wharf length of 400 metres out of the 832 metres would commence by the month-end. On completion, the terminal would handle one million containers per annum.

Chennai International Terminals Pvt Ltd (CITPL), the second container terminal operator, recently procured 10 imported Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTFs). These RTFS are capable of stacking 5 plus 1 high containers and have a span of 6 plus 1 containers. Later, they will be deployed for yard operations. Three rail-mounted quay cranes will arrive next week.

During the year ended March 31, 2009, the port handled 57.49 million tonnes of cargo against 57.15 million tonnes the previous year, 11.43 lakh twenty-foot equivalent units of containers against 11.28 lakh containers and 2,822 ships against 2,761 ships. The average turnaround time for ship was 2.11 days against 2.25 days in previous year. Less arrival of iron ore from the Bellary-Hospet region saw a dip in tonnage moved by rail from 18.20 million tonnes to 16.42 million tonnes and in number of railway wagons handled for the year.

“Despite the recession, we were able to maintain our growth story. We are now ranked third among major ports in cargo throughput after Kandla and Visakhapatnam and 81st among the top 100 container ports in the world as against 87 last year. We have retained the number one position among the car terminals in the country by handling 2.49 lakh cars against 1.38 lakh cars. We will end the year with a net profit of Rs.277 crore,” he said.

According to Mr. Suresh, the development of the Rs.50-crore Ro-Ro car terminal at southern end of container terminal had been put off for want of successful bidder. ChPT was contemplating an alternative site.

Referring to the elevated expressway from the port to Maduravoyal, he said that the rehabilitation cost would come down drastically, as the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board survey had found out that nearly 2,600 families had to be rehabilitated as against its previous estimate of 11,000 families.