Visakhapatnam Port Trust is prepared to augment its handling capacity from the present 2.5 million tonnes to 4.5 million tonnes with the modernisation of its three cargo berths, for which tendering process is set to begin in two months.
Port chairman K Ramamohana Rao shared that until August this year, the port achieved nine per cent growth in cargo operations compared to previous year despite the pandemic. He further informed that a significant growth was registered in thermal coal (125 per cent), steam coal (65 per cent), containers (8 per cent) and coking coal (6 per cent). The VPT bagged the 4th rank among major ports in terms of cargo handling this year.
“We are also exploring alternative cargo such as rice, coking coal, etc to see there is no shortfall in volume.”~ K Ramamohana Rao, Port Chairman
Modernisation of west quay berths 7 and 8 will begin under PPP mode at a cost of INR 288.47 crore to support the handling of multi-cargo such as manganese, coking coal, gypsum, bauxite and cargos other than iron ore.
East quay berth 7 will also be fully mechanised at a cost of INR 190 crore and it will handle fertiliser and multi cargo.
INR 1,000-crore port modernisation and infra projects, including construction of roads, drains and cover sheds, are underway.
A 50-acre staking yard facility will be developed to store the cargo which will be shifted from ship, for which stacker cum reclaimer machines are installed. Cargo will be loaded onto a full length rail rake. This will enable them to offer handling charges lesser than Vedanta and VSPL so that more cargo will come to the port trust.
West Quay MultiPort Private Limited, which was given the west quay 6 berth under PPP, abandoned the berth and the government wants the berth to refer to the standing finance committee.
He said they are taking over the berth and modernisation of the berth will be taken up under PPP mode. Tenders will be invited for constructing a world-class truck terminal within a month.
“Once the terminal is ready, no truck will be allowed to park on the road,’’ he stated.
Likewise, tenders for construction of covered storage with necessary drains, road and water supply at an estimated cost of INR 36.38 crore will be taken up in the month of October.
Modernisation of the road network will be taken up and as part of it a road from Sea Horse junction to dockyard will be developed. An overbridge will be constructed at a cost of INR 250 crore under the project executed by the NHAI. Fully covered sheds will be constructed for iron ore with INR 200 crore.
The chairman also said they procured enough Oxygen cylinders and concentrators for any emergency that may arise during the possible third wave of Covid-19. The construction of cruise-cum-coastal cargo terminal along with other infrastructure and amenities at Channel Berth area in outer harbour at an estimated cost of INR 96.05 crore will be taken up after issuing tenders next month.
Steps towards curbing pollution:
Two truck-mounted fog canons were deployed to suppress the dust while loading and unloading cargo at berth and stack yards at cost of INR 90 core. Two trolley mounted fog canons are also being deployed. Besides, there is a facility to wash tyres of trucks going out from the port.
“All these efforts are yielding considerable results as there has been a drop in pollution and the target is to reach at least near zero pollution,’’ added Mr Ramamohana Rao.