Cargo handled by the 12 major ports till December this year dipped as the economy slowed down, according to Visakhapatnam Port Chairman Ajeya Kallam.

He was speaking here on Saturday after hoisting the National Flag on the occasion of the Republic Day. He said major ports in the country handled 405 million tonnes up to December against 418 million tonnes the previous year, with Visakhapatnam handling 48 million tonnes during the period against 57 million tonnes during the previous year. “The Visakhapatnam port has been facing many hardships. Decline in iron ore imports by China, decline in domestic steel production, decline in crude import by the HPCL and de-commissioning of some berths for modernisation have led to the slump in traffic,” he said.

work in progress

He said the fully mechanised coal-handling facility at the general cargo berth would be operational soon, providing a lasting solution to pollution. Referring to public-private-partnership projects, he said work was in progress on five projects — general cargo berth, West Quay-6, East Quay-10, East Quay-1 and East Quay-1A — for which concession was awarded and would begin shortly on East Quay-7.

Three more projects — extension of container terminal, development of West Quay North berth and integrated iron-ore-handling facility — are likely to be awarded by March. Work on deepening of the inner harbour entrance channel and turning circle to cater to 14-m draft vessels is likely to be completed by June, according to Kallam.

sarma.rs@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 26, 2013)
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