Visakhapatnam Port cruising towards handling 58 mt by Mar. 31
The slump in economy notwithstanding, Visakhapatnam Port is all set to retain fifth slot in the country by either surpassing or finishing close to last year’s cargo of 58 million tonnes (mt) by March 31.
Visakhapatnam Port Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu said that “The market is very dull this time. All the major and non-major ports in the East Coast have handled 5% less cargo than the previous year whereas we have so far recorded 1.3% less.”
The reason for the dismal scenario despite capacity addition by some ports is attributed to almost nil steel exports after China flooded the domestic markets with cheap products following glut and drastic fall in coking coal imports. Due to situation in China, exports of iron ore fell steeply.
However, the engagement of Very Large Crude Carriers by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited to fill its underground rock cavern in Lova Gardens in Visakhapatnam and more procurement by HPCL resulted in increase in crude handling by 1.5 mt.
Container traffic has gone up by 5 lakh tonne. Other commodities like break cargo went up by two million. “All this made it possible to put up a reasonably good performance by us,” Krishna Babu pointed out.
Visakhapatnam Port is subjected to stiff competition from private ports like Gangavaram as they have slashed the charges substantially due to slump in economy.
There is no level playing field as major ports come are regulated under the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) regime.
Visakhapatnam Port recently improved efficiency parameters by implementing the recommendations of Boston Consulting Group after identifying the bottlenecks preventing optimum use of capacity and offered concessions to port users towards cargo handling charges.
Visakhapatnam Port has taken up big projects like expansion of container terminal at a cost of INR 633 crore and modernization and capacity augmentation of Ore Handling Complex at a cost of INR 845 crore to increase its capacity from the existing 90 mt to 120 mt by 2016-17.