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Vizag to turn transhipment hub post expansion of container terminal

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VISAKHAPATNAM : The dream to transform Visakhapatnam into a transhipment hub may become a reality with Visakhapatnam Port Authority announcing the completion of expansion of its container terminal billed as one of the finest facilities with the deepest natural depth of 16 metres.

The expansion undertaken at a pre-revised cost of Rs 633.11 crore by the BOT operator JM Baxi Group enables the terminal to handle a small vessel and two large liners of 350 metre length with a capacity of 20,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent) containers.

“The container terminal after completion of expansion adds our capacity and will enable us to improve our ranking in future by attracting more import and export cargo,” VPA Chairman K Rama Mohana Rao said recently.

VPA is also gearing up to face competition amid reports that a nearby private port is also making efforts to foray into container business. VPA has already focused on expanding its client base with the introduction of end to end logistics solutions.

The terminal exports aluminium, alloys, agricultural proudcts, frozen seafood mostly shrimp and steel to the Far East, Western Europe, China and South East Asia. Frozen shrimp goes to the USA and China. It imports scrap, chemicals, wood pulp, refractories and ores from the USA, China and Middle East.

“Now our capacity has gone up from 0.7 million TEUs to 1.3 million TEUs. With our strategic location, infrastructure and facilities, we will certainly improve our operations significantly,” Anil Narayanan, Deputy COO of Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd (VCTPL) told Bizz Buzz.

VCTPL is the special purpose vehicle floated to implement the container terminal project under BOT mode. The terminal was the first to bounce back after Hudhud struck the city in 2014. Though there was some delay in expanding the project due to revenue sharing initially and subsequently due to economic slowdown, the terminal expansion has been completed successfully.

The terminal before the pandemic had a CAGR of 22 per cent. The terminal handled 4.5 lakh TEUs in 2018-19 followed by 5.02 lakh in 2019-20, 4.81 lakh in 2020-21 and 5.11 lakh TEUs in 2021-22. Visakhapatnam Port Authority ranked fourth among major ports after Deendayal (Kandla), Paradeep and JNPT by handling 69 million tonne during 2021-22.

The port authorities are confident of scaling up in next two to three years by completing the ongoing capacity augmentation and mechanisation works and removing the bottlenecks for faster evacuation of cargo.

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