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Visakhapatnam Port sets record in cargo handling

By Our Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM, APRIL 1. The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) crossed 50 million tonnes (mt) in cargo handling during the fiscal 2004-05, and became the first port in the country to achieve this distinction. It handled 47.74 million tonnes last year.

The VPT Chairman, K. Ratna Kishore, said: "In handling bulk cargo, the port has always stood first. We are trying to improve the performance by deepening the outer harbour. The Japanese have come forward to extend financial assistance to the Rs.320-crore project. We will be able to handle 2,00,000 dwt vessels after the completion of the project. Iron ore exports would get a further boost."

Occupying the No.1 slot for the past five years, the VPT achieved a new high handling 50.15 mt on Thursday. Iron ore accounted for 16.52 mt., petroleum oils and lubricants accounted for 14.62 mt and coking coal and coke imports accounted for 7.17 lakh tonnes.

The container traffic was also the highest ever during the year — 3.7 lakh tonne exports and 2.65 lakh tonne imports. The port excelled in all efficiency parameters with the output per berth-day of 12,241 tonnes the highest in its history.

The average turnaround time of 3.2 days and per-berthing detention of one hour five minutes are the best performance indicators ever achieved.

The highest number of 1,843 ships sailed from the port in 2004-05 with two very large crude carriers handled in October-November and March. The ore handling plant also recorded the highest ever in tippling (12.88 mt) and shipping (14.25 mt) of ore and pellets.

The port rail system handled 32.9 mt of cargo during the year against 30.9 mt the previous year. The chief operating officer of the Visakhapatnam Container Terminal Project Limited, D. Sugantharaj, felt that the rise of 120 per cent in the port's annual traffic was only the beginning of the brighter prospects, "as VCTPL marches ahead in establishing itself [as] a viable alternative on the Indian east coast."

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