The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) not only set an all-time record by handling a throughput of 70 million tonne on Wednesday, the highest-ever since it launched commercial operations in 1933, but also relegated the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to the fourth position.
Higher dwell time, better turnaround and faster evacuation of cargo have ensured better productivity. The VPT has achieved highest growth rate of 12% compared to the previous year among all the major ports. The port is expected to cross 72 million tonne by March 31. The all-India growth of major ports during the current fiscal is 1.4%.
“Innovative marketing efforts such as signing agreements for preferential handling with SAIL and other PSUs, introducing end-to-end solutions and electronic cargo tracking system, and offering discount in vessel, cargo and storage-related charges have made the difference,” VPT Deputy Chairman P.L. Haranadh told.
The port’s highest cargo of 68 million tonne was handled in 2011 when Gangavaram port was in the initial stage.
“Ours is the highest growing port in India and we have already achieved an unassailable lead over JNPT,” he said.
There is an impressive growth in handling steam and thermal coal, iron ore and containers. Iron ore handling has gone up by 4.2 million tonne, primarily because Jindal Steel is using the port’s facilities fully and attracting cargo from Paradip and Dhamra. Essar terminal productivity is very high due to handling of 75,000 to 80,000 tonne iron ore per day.
After expansion, Essar would handle 13 million tonne of iron ore this year and 16 million tonne next year, Mr. Haranadh said. Last year, it had received 10 million tonne. The port received 1.6 million tonne of coal additionally due to an MoU with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and agreements with SAIL and other PSUs.
Container traffic from Visakhapatnam has gone up by 13% by February 29. The Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd, a BOT operator, will handle 0.5 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) , its full capacity, after a gap of 17 years.
Mr. Haranadh said that after declaration of Visakhapatnam as the second gateway port in 2017, the port was able to handle 65 to 70% of Nepalese cargo.
Incidentally, Visakhapatnam is about 1,600 km and Kolkata 700 km from Nepal. Still, due to handling of higher capacity container liners due to 16 metres draft, better dwell time and faster handling, the traders of Nepal prefer Visakhapatnam to Kolkata.