Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vizag Port poised to handle 150 million tonnes by 2020: Vasan


Union Minister of Shipping G. K. Vasan has expressed the hope that with the expansion and modernisation plans envisaged, the Port of Visakhapatnam is poised to add a capacity of 82 million tonnes and reach a level of 140 million tonnes by the end of the 12th Plan and 150 million tonnes by the year 2020.
Addressing a gathering during the triple function – dedication of EQ-1 Mechanised Coal Handling Facility, commissioning of Unified Command & Control Centre and signing of Concession Agreement for upgradation of Ore Handling Complex of Visakhapatnam Port Trust – in Chennai on Dec. 13, he said: “The East Quay-1 berth capable of berthing PANAMAX class vessels has been developed by M/s. Adani Vizag Coal Terminal Pvt. Ltd. at an investment of Rs. 323.18 crores. The fully mechanized facility with a capacity of 6.41 million tonnes per annum is designed to handle steam coal with an unloading rate of 27, 000 tonnes per day.”
With the commissioning of the berth, the port will be able to cater to the much needed requirements of the power sector in and around the region, Mr. Vasan addedd.

Developed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, the project with a capacity of 6.41 million tonnes per annum with a quay length of 280 metres, is capable of berthing PANAMAX class vessels.
The East Quay-1 berth, developed in the inner harbour of Port of Visakhapatnam, has a dredged depth of 16.1 metres and can accommodate 14-metre draft vessels.
Laying emphasis on the PPP initiatives to meet the growing demand for well-equipped ports, the Minister stated: “The Government has been encouraging private sector participation in port development. The areas thrown open include construction of berths, container terminals, warehousing facilities, installation of cargo handling equipment, dry docks and ship repair facilities. It has been observed that the private sector partners bring in operational efficiency and therefore PPP has been the preferred mode of attracting investments in the port sector.”

Patting Vizag Port for rising to the occasion, the Shipping Minister observed: “The Port of Visakhapatnam has been in the forefront in taking up the challenge of creating world class facilities. I congratulate the port for taking up eight projects on PPP mode at an estimated investment of Rs. 3, 250 crores. The development of the Vizag General Cargo Berth and Adani Vizag Coal Terminal has already been completed. Another five projects have been awarded and are progressing. The port is going to award one more project, “Extension of container terminal at outer harbour”, at an estimated cost of Rs. 633.11 crores with a capacity of 0.54 million TEUs shortly.”

Speaking about the new tie-up between Vizag Port and Essar Limited, Mr. Vasan noted: “Another important PPP project of VPT for which a concession agreement has been signed between the Port of Visakhapatnam and M/s Vadinar Oil Terminal (Essar) – for the upgradation of the existing facility at outer harbour and creation of new facility at inner harbour for handling iron ore.”
The Minister pointed out: “The facility will be developed at an estimated investment of Rs. 845 crores to create a capacity of 23 million tonnes. This project envisages upgradation of the existing 40-year-old facility in the outer harbour to receive 2-lakh DWT iron ore carriers and development of new facility in the inner harbour to load PANAMAX vessels through an integrated mechanized handling system.”

Using the podium, the Minister also assured that the 500-odd port employees who are now working at the existing iron ore handling facility will not lose their livelihood. His announcement came at the backdrop of the reported strike by the employees to seek the Minister’s attention against the port management which went ahead with the privatization of the facility despite stiff opposition from several labour unions.
“There will not be any retrenchment of workforce and all the workers now engaged in iron ore handling facility would be shifted to suitable job over a period of time,” the Minister promised. It may be noted here that the Minister’s address was broadcast live in Vizag Port via video conferencing and Mr. Vasan utilized the opportunity to assuage the feelings of the workers there.

Unified Command and Control Centre: As part of the ceremony, Mr. Vasan also inaugurated the Unified Command and Control Centre of the Port – the first of its kind among Major Ports in the country.
The facility envisages monitoring and controlling the entire gamut of port operations in a cross-functional and collaborative environment and enables monitoring of port operations such as navigation, cargo handling, railway operations, security, environment management, commercial transactions, communications, etc., all at one central location on real-time basis.

The Minister also urged the Chairmen of other Major Ports to examine how they could harness information technology to create similar hubs in their ports to monitor the various activities.

Besides others, Mr. N. Muruganandam, Joint Secretary (Ports), Ministry of Shipping; Mr. Raj Pal Singh Kahlon, Chairman, Visakhapatnam Port Trust; Mr. Atulya Misra, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust; Mr. M. A. Bhaskarachar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Ennore Port Limited; Mr. Rajiv Agarwal, Managing Director, M/s Essar Limited and Mr. G. J. Rao, Director, Adani  Ports, attended the ceremony.

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