The maritime infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) is poised for rapid growth, thanks to renewed thrust on the development of a string of seaports that dot the State’s 974-km coastline.
The government estimates that the ports, big and small together, have the potential to generate a $20-billion ‘blue economy’ by the year 2035. The availability of tranquil and deep waters of 20 metres near the shore at many locations and presence of excellent rail and road network are the State’s biggest advantages.
All functional ports in the State are minor ones, except the public sector Visakhapatnam port — the only major port going strong almost 90 years after it was opened for ocean traffic — but they have tremendous potential to drive the economy.
Among the minor ports, the Krishnapatnam (in Nellore district), Kakinada deep water and Gangavaram ports are flourishing, while the Kakinada anchorage port and the Ravva port are largely used for export and import of food grains, and collecting off-shore oil from some rigs in the Krishna-Godavari basin, respectively.
As far as the history of these minor ports is concerned, the Kakinada anchorage port is the oldest one, having been inaugurated almost a century ago and the now non-existent port at Machilipatnam was a trading hub for the British and other European traders in the 18th century.
These apart, a slew of new ports is being built to give a fillip to tmaritime infrastructure, the Ramayapatnam port being the first to go off the block. It is coming up barely 20 km from Nellore city.
The AP Maritime Board (APMB) shifted the gears in constructing the other ports with immediate priority attached to two others — Bhavanapadu (Srikakulam district) and Machilipatnam (Krishna).
They are in advanced stages of tendering and grounding of works, barring some minor land acquisition issues being sorted out by the APMB with the departments concerned. Added to the port infrastructure are nine fishing harbours under development by the APMB in two phases.