Port Wings News Network:
Chennai Port, one of the oldest ports in the country and known as the “Eastern Gateway Port” by Exim fraternity seems to be passing through turbulent times nowadays.
While the Chennai Port has registered a phenomenal growth in containerized cargo handling over the years, lack of future planning by the Chennai Port Trust for timely cargo evacuation via its gates is hampering its growth.
Officially, Chennai Port has 14 gates for movement of cargoes. When it comes to actual usage, only three gates are in operation now. Though volume of cargo (both breakbulk and containerized) and traffic (both heavy vehicles and container trailers) has grown up several times over the years, only these three gates cater to all the movement.
Gate No.2, which is close to a residential locality called Royapuram, was closed two years ago due to one fatal accident where a whole family on two-wheeler crushed to death.
While Zero Gate alone has round-the-clock movement facility now, other two gates -- 2A and No-14 (opposite to War Memorial) are used for movement only during late night hours.
However, the local police authorities last week imposed a blanket ban on movement of cargo-laden vehicles from Gate No-14 to facilitate Metrorail work.
In other words, the latest order has literally strangulated the port’s growth and forced the management to utilize the already congested Zero Gate for all vehicle movements.
Speaking to Port Wings, a regular user of Chennai Port wishing anonymity said, “If Chennai Port wants to grow in future, more gates has to be opened for the movement of cargoes. Without gates, ChPT would become a worthless facility from a world-class facility in East Coast.”
WHO IS TO BE BLAMED FOR CONGESTION?
According to Exim fraternity, the Chennai Port management should think out of the box to solve the gate puzzle at the earliest.
Mr Kumar, owner of a trailer lorry, said “The Zero Gate is already congested with heavy movement of container trailers. And we don’t know what would happen if all other types of heavy vehicles, carrying steel-coils, cars and other breakbulk cargoes forced to use the same gate.”
While the port management is in the catch22 situation, port users say if the ChPT management rein in on its two container terminals, run by DP World and PSA, they could arrest the internal as well external congestion of trailers.
Speaking to Port Wings, a regular user said, “Both the terminals are aiding to the congestion of trailers by stopping handling of trailer-mounted containers during vessel handling. They stop receiving boxes and in turn, those loaded trailers form a serpentine queue along the internal roads of the port and ultimately affect movement of all vehicles outside the port premises too.”
“Until unless the port management takes some strong measures against the terminals for aiding to traffic congestion, they will continue with their act,” the user added.