Mr. G. Gandhirajan, Chief Operating Officer (COO), L & T Ports, Kattupalli,
With a view to wooing the EXIM fraternity to its newly inaugurated facility, Kattupalli Port, a joint venture between Tamil Nadu Government and L & T, a trade meet was organised on Feb. 11 in Chennai.
At the meeting, in which about 300 representatives of major EXIM players from the region attended, Mr. G. Gandhirajan, Chief Operating Officer (COO), L & T Ports, Kattupalli, unveiled the state-of-the-art facilities the port has for movement of cargoes.
With the launch a couple of weeks ago by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, the Kattupalli Port, still considered as a minor port which comes under the control of Tamil Nadu Maritime Board, has become the third port in the State to handle containerized cargo, after Chennai and Tuticorin.
Appealing to the gathering, which included the port’s potential customers, importers and exporters, besides steamer agents and Custom House Agents, Mr. Gandhirajan said: “Come and see the facilities that we have for the trade at the newly launched port and utilize them.”
We will play a supporting role and will not compete with the facilities available in the neighbourhood, he replied when the EXIM fraternity repeatedly asked about its plans.
It may be noted here that the port is located amidst three important ports – Chennai Port and Ennore Port in Tamil Nadu and Krishnapatnam Port in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh.
While Chennai and Krishnapatnam ports are already into container business, besides break-bulk and other activities, Ennore Port, which is sharing its boundary with the recently inaugurated Kattupalli Port, has ambitious plans for container handling facilities in the coming months.
Though L & T owns the port cum ship building complex, it has appointed the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), the Philippines-based port operator, for operating and managing the container terminal (Kattupalli International Container Terminal – KICT)
While ICTSI operates 24 ports in 17 countries worldwide, the KICT is the company’s first project in India.
Elaborating about the future plans, Mr. Gandhirajan stated: “Besides enhancing the capacity of container terminal, we are planning for RORO operations and also vie for handling liquid and general cargo in future.”
Adding further, he observed: “The port has a 14-metre draught now, capable of handling big container vessels, and it can be dredged to 16 metres if need arises.”
KICT has 5,120 ground slots for TEUs, 360 REEFER plug points and 15 RTGs for moving boxes swiftly from ships, he added.
Mr. Gandhirajan pointed out that the tariff for the port is posted on its website and the rates ae comparable with the neighbouring ports.
Since Kattupalli Port is still in the list of minor ports of Tamil Nadu (non-major port in Shipping Ministry parlance), it is technically outside the ambit of the Tariff Advisory for Major Ports (TAMP) that fixes tariff for the country’s 12 Major Ports (governed by Union Shipping Ministry).
“Since we are not bound by TAMP’s tariff regime, we would consult the trade before effecting any revision to announced rates,” he stated.
L & T Ports has plans to organize similar trade meets at Coimbatore, Ambur and Bangalore for maintaining captive cargo for the new facility.
Besides others, Mr. Vishal Mathur, GM-Marketing & Commercial, L & T Ports, Kattupalli; Capt. N. Vishwanathan, GM-Marine, L & T Ports, and Mr. Mohemed Gandhar, GM-KICT, interacted with the EXIM fraternity at the trade meet.