Port Wings News Network:
While the Chennai Port management has contained the congestion of container trailers to a certain extent, sudden increase in breakbulk activities has forced the authorities to burn midnight oil to overcome congestion caused by heavy vehicles carrying breakbulk cargoes including steel coils.
Though the Port authorities are happy that the cargo handling is growing steadily after months of negative growth, taming the bottlenecks emerging after the surge in breakbulk should be the priority for the port, say the trade.
According to sources, Chennai Port is witnessing steady growth in the last few months and recently the port has successfully handled three fertilizer-laden vessels at a time. Besides, low port charges have made Chennai a major destination for import of steel coils by different companies.
According to a regular importer, since the port has attracted more breakbulk cargo in the last few months, it is time for the authorities to put in place certain mechanism to overcome the growing congestion of heavy vehicles carrying break-bulk cargo.
“At one point of time few days ago, fully-laden vehicles were seen on serpentine queue near Gate no-10 for hours and not even a two-wheeler was able to move across the road,” he added.
The main reason for the congestion is the existing ban on movement of heavy-vehicles through Gate No-10 imposed by the Tamil Nadu government due to security reasons.
As per the government’s movement restriction order, heavy vehicles can use the Port’s Gate-10 only between 11PM and 5 AM everyday.
Besides, the trade also asked the Port management to come out with a permanent plan for evacuating steel coils from the port round-the-clock.
Speaking to Port Wings, Mr I Jeyakumar, Deputy Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, said that the port management are exploring every available option to reduce the internal congestion.
“Though the permitted timing for Gate 10 now is 11 PM to 5 AM, the port management could take up extension of timing from 10 PM to 6 AM with the state government if demand arises,” he added.
On a question about seamless movement of Steel coil rolls, Mr Jeyakumar said, “For a time being, we can arrange movement of steel-coil-loaded trucks through Zero Gate in temporary basis and plans to utilize Gate 2-A for movement of breakbulk cargo laden vehicles in future.”
If needed, the port management could also devise plan for mass evacuation of steel coils through railway mode, he added.