Considerable investments are planned through private sector participation in addition to investments through internal resources of VPT for port modernisation in the major thrust areas of deepening of channels and berths, development of new berths, modernisation and mechanisation of existing berths and improvements in connectivity and other logistics such as multi-model logistic parks, said MT Krishna Babu, Chairman, Port of Visakhapatnam.
Tell us about VPTs initiatives in undertaking deepening projects.
VPT has invested Rs 500 crore through its internal resources for deepening projects in the outer harbour and inner harbour. Port of Visakhapatnam is today capable of handling super cape vessels of 200,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) in the outer harbour with a draft up to 18.1 m and fully laden Panamax vessels of draft up to 14.5 m in the inner harbour. This is the only major port in India to have a super cape handling facility and the deepest container berth which can dock the biggest container vessel in the world.
What kind of investment has gone into developing new berths?
A total of seven projects have been implemented in the port with an estimated investment of Rs 2,729 crore through publicûprivate participation to augment capacity by 58 million tonne. Of these, four projects with an investment of Rs 937 crore and capacity of 20.52 mtpa are completed. In addition, upgrading of the ore handling plant with an estimated investment of Rs 581 crore and capacity of 16.5 million tonne is nearing completion in phase 1.
To give fillip to coastal cargo, a dedicated berth with a capacity of 1.66 million tonne is developed at an investment of Rs 43 crore, as a part of the Sagarmala programme. Towards this effort, an amount of Rs 30 crore is provided by the government as budgetary support.
The Port of Visakhapatnam has awarded three projects with an estimated investment of Rs 620 crore to be spent through internal resources for the: (i) development of two new berths (WQ 7&8) (ii) reconstruction of the old and shallow berths (EQ 2 to 5) into two berths and (iii) development of additional oil handling facility (OR 3) in the inner harbour.
Mechanisation plays an important role in the overall growth of the port. How is VPT equipped with advanced machineries for swift operations?
Besides developing deep drafted berths in the outer and inner harbours, the port of Visakhapatnam has also taken up mechanisation of cargo handling facilities with a view to creating state-of-art infrastructure on par with international standards. Fully mechanised facilities for handling coal and iron ore have already been completed alongside the development of berths. In addition, replacement of old and obsolete electrical shore cranes of low capacity with versatile, higher capacity harbour mobile cranes is taken up in phases. Already three HMCs of capacity of 100 tonne and above are installed in the inner harbour on license basis. Equipping other berths with modern cargo handling infrastructure is on the anvil.
Connectivity always complements a port's growth strategy. Under Sagarmala programme, what are the connectivity projects undertaken by the port?
Sagarmala envisages reduction in logistic cost by optimising the model mix, which is highly skewed towards road transportation. Besides optimising cargo movement through coastal movement and inland water transport (IWT), it is imminent to augment port rail and road connectivity. Towards achieving this objective, VPT has evolved internal connectivity projects with an investment of nearly Rs 245 crore.
Major projects are (i) laying of four-lane roads on existing port connectivity in joint venture (JV) with NHAI at Rs 77 crore, (ii) upgrade of existing railway system to the standards of Indian Railways and implementation of modern route relay interlocking system at Rs 55 crore and (iii) construction of grade separators at Convent Junction at Rs 60 crore.
Two important connectivity projects in the drawing board stage are: (i) development of dedicated road connectivity from outer harbour to port connectivity junction at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore and (ii) development of Mindi railway yard for efficient rail movement emanating from the western sector towards South Central Railway at an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore.
A major external road connectivity project envisaged under Sagarmala being taken up by NHAI is development of adequate road connectivity from Sheela Nagar Junction at Vizag port to Anakapalli-Sabbavaram and Pendurti-Anandapuram road in NH-16 (former NH-5) at an estimated investment of Rs 500 crore. This is an important and long-awaited project, which provides hassle free movement of cargo towards north and south duly bypassing the dense city traffic.
Considerable investments are made towards development of other port logistic services such as multi model logistic hub, container freight stations, construction of warehouses and development of cold storage facilities.
Port of Visakhapatnam is developing a multi-modal logistic hub in JV with Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd., at an estimated cost of Rs 217 crore. Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) is developing a multi-modal logistic hub in phases at an estimated cost of Rs 372 crore on 100 acre of VPT land. The container terminal operator, Visakha Container Terminal Pvt Ltd (VCTPL), has established a container freight station (CFS) on VPT land at an estimated cost of Rs 162 crore. The port has developed a truck parking terminal in about eight acres of land with all amenities to accommodate 200 trucks facilitating congestion free roads, besides providing facilities such as pre-gate survey.
What kind of investment is envisaged under port-led industrialisation?
Among the 14 coastal economic zones (CEZs) envisioned, the port of Visakhapatnam is positioned in VCIC North - Andhra Pradesh CEZ, covering the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur.
The potential industries that are likely to be developed in this region as envisioned in the Sagarmala study are petrochemicals, cement, apparel and food processing based on the available raw materials and deficit in finished products. Major developments may emanate from Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) and petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals investment region (PCPIR).
With 38 per cent of the total contribution, Visakhapatnam is projected to become the major contributor among the five nodes of VCIC, namely, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Yerpedu-Srikalahasti, Krishnapatnam and Amaravati-Gannavaram-Vijayawada. VCIC is estimated to generate about 11 million employment opportunities. The VCIC is taken up with substantial financial assistance of over $500 million by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a phased manner. A mega petrochemical hub is envisioned in Visakhapatnam-Kakinada region at an investment of Rs 3.43 lakh crore with a potential to create direct employment to 5.25 lakh people and indirect employment to about 6.73 lakh.
- RAHUL KAMAT