The much-awaited first trial run of barges carrying loaded containers from Chennai to the Puducherry new port will be held on Wednesday. The maximum capacity of a barge is up to 100 containers and the trial run is to ensure smooth movement of the barge through the sea mouth at the Thengaithittu fishing harbour to the port area.
The sea mouth has been dredged to enable navigation of barges through the channel into the port. The route has been identified and the cargo handling operations, including unloading of containers by cranes to the godowns, would form part of the trial run. Although the trial run was planned on Monday, it was postponed to Wednesday for reasons best known to officials. Once the trial run is successful, the Puducherry port is expected to go on stream and handle cargo operations shortly. As per the Memorandum of Understanding, the Chennai Port will assist the Puducherry Port in handling export cargo which will be transported to Chennai via the sea route for subsequent shipping to overseas destination through mainline and feeder vessels.
An important hub: The port will handle 100 loaded containers on alternate days and three lakh tonne cargo per annum initially. The capacity will later be expanded to one million tonne. The officials said Chennai ports were congested and cargo operators found it difficult to move the containers from the ports.
The Puducherry port will act as a hub of Chennai port and would handle cargo bound to interior districts of Tamil Nadu. The agreement would be on a revenue-sharing basis between the Chennai Port Trust and the Puducherry Port. The port would handle cargo such as cement and steel.