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Vizag port aims at 65 mt cargo for this fiscal

Visakhapatnam: Battling stiff market conditions and global downturn, Visakhapatnam port has been able to notch up a throughput of  58.50 million tonnes last fiscal, marginally less than the previous year.

But, as the new fiscal began, the port is brimming with confidence that it may be able to regain its premier slot during the year.  The reason- several crucial development projects are schedule for completion during the year, which will boost its cargo handling appetite.

MR G V L Satya Kumar, the port’s Deputy Chairman, is optimistic that the port will handle at least 65 million tonnes during the fiscal, which would take it to the top in terms of throughput.
“Some crucial projects in the PPP mode will  be completed during the current year. The dredging of the outer harbour has been completed to the extent of 95 per cent and in the inner harbour up to 46 per cent or so., he told at a media conference earlier this fortnight.

The dredging projects costing Rs 415 crore will be completed in a few months’ time.  this will enable the port to service larger vessels, including super cape-size ships, which will automatically drive up its throughput. This is specially so as global export-import trade is essentially moving towards larger ships to save on shipping costs.
“Some of the major projects, such as the modernization and upgrading of the general cargo berth in the outer harbour, have been completed during the year. For the first time in its history, the port handled a cape size vessel in the outer harbour recently,” Mr Satya Kumar said.

The port has taken up two major projects – the extension of the exiting container terminal and the modernization and upgrading of the iron ore handling complex.
The first project, estimated to cost over Rs 600 crore, has been awarded to the Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd and the second, estimated to cost Rs 800-850 crore, to Essar Ports. The work on these two projects is expected to begin during the current fiscal.
With these expansion projects and its legacy, Satya Kumar is unfazed by the competition from the neighboring private ports of Gangavaram and Krishnapatnam.

He said the port was fully geared to meet competition from the neighboring private ports as well as other major ports.
The iron ore handling complex was being modernized and the container terminal extended. “We have added 15 million tonnes of capacity during 2013-14, taking the capacity of the port now to 82.5 MTPA. An operating surplus of Rs 261 crore was achieved during the year and Rs 268 crore was spent during the year on projects. During the current fiscal, we will spend Rs 374 crore,” he said.
Satya Kumar asserts that Visakhapatnam port is the cheapest and the most efficient. He said two 50-tonne bollard pull tugs were commissioned in the port during the year. The rail evacuation system was also one of the best in the country and during the year 32.80 million tonnes was moved by the railways.
During the year, it earned a net profit of Rs 79.19 crore, as against rs 37.04 crore in the previous year.  This was largely possible due to improved financial management and productivity parameters, such as turnaround and berthing times.

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