VPT bidding for all-time high throughput

VISAKHAPATNAM: Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) appears on course to posting the all-time high cargo through put in the major port sector in the country this fiscal.

Official sources told The Hindu that the port registered 42.7 million tonnes of throughput till Thursday and would have to account for an additional four million tonnes of traffic during the remainder of the current fiscal to surpass the national record of 46.30 million tonnes held by Kandla port.

Given the trends of cargo movement, the sources pointed out, VPT, which is sustaining its premier port status for the fourth time on the trot, the record of highest cargo throughput in a year by a port was well within reach.

"We are ahead by one million tonnes compared to our own performance this time last fiscal and are hopeful of handling 46.8 million tonnes by March-end,'' the sources disclosed.

The cargo throughput at Vizag port is significantly boosted by the movement of iron ore and iron pellets which touched 10.3 million tonnes so far, a rise of 1.2 million tonnes compared to last fiscal. Overall, the 13 major ports have sustained their good run during the first three quarters of 2003-04, improving on the 7.81 per cent growth registered during this period to 8.72 per cent in the final lap of the current fiscal.

According to the figures released by the Indian Ports Association (IPA) for the traffic handled during April-January, 2004, the ports registered a cargo throughput of 280.97 million tonnes as against the 258.43 million tonnes of the corresponding months of 2003-03. The performance has the ports exceeding the target of 277.84 millions set by the Ministry of Shipping for this period by 1.12 per cent.

The major ports have benefited from increase in the throughput of cargoes like POL, iron ore, thermal coal, coking coal, finished fertilisers and containers. A significant feature of the performance is that all the major ports have recorded growth in cargo throughput for this period, the best coming from Kolkata Dock System (17.63 per cent) followed by New Mangalore (16.59 per cent), JNPT (15.97), Mormugao (15.82 per cent), Haldia Dock Complex (14. 68 per cent) and Ennore (12.92 per cent).

In terms of the MoS target, however, only six ports of Haldia Dock Complex, Kochi, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai and JNPT have managed to be on course, the rest, including VPT, missing the mark.

Kandla trails VPT with 34.39 million tonnes for the second slot followed by Chennai (29.68 million tonnes), Haldia Dock Complex (26.95 per cent), JNPT (25.81 million tonnes), Mumbai (24.74 million tonnes), Mormugao (21.43 million tonnes), New Mangalore (20.85 million tonnes) and Paradip (20.70 million tonnes).