The much-awaited construction of Machilipatnam port in Andhra Pradesh can now move forward as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has accorded environment clearance for the project.
“Now the project can be fast-tracked as the State government wants to complete the first phase in 30 months, once all clearances are in place,” a senior official said.
The other works are already in progress for the port as the Power Finance Corporation had earlier approved a loan of ₹4,500 crore for the project. Detailed project report has been prepared and vetted by RITES Ltd and the contract for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) is yet to be awarded after the contract that was given to Navayuga Engineering Company Limited was cancelled by the State government for various reasons.
The location of the Greenfield port is Manginapudi, which is more ‘advantageous’ compared to Gilakaladindi and Goguleru creeks that were explored as possible alternative sites when the survey was conducted. It is planned to be developed in about 1,145 acres.
A special purpose vehicle – Machilipatnam Port Development Corporation Limited – has already been floated to undertake the construction of the port after all statutory clearances are secured. The port has a draft of 14.5 metres and is designed to handle vessels weighing around 60,000 DWT in the initial phase.
From a business perspective, Machilipatnam port is considered ideal for export and import of tobacco, granite and other natural stones, pharma and agri products. The eastern offshore activities of ONGC are also expected to be benefited by the upcoming port.
According to Ravindranath Reddy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board, four new ports of Ramayapatnam, Bhavanapadu, Kakinada Gateway port and Machilipatnam are expected to be operational by the end of 2024. Along with other ancient ports in India such as Kaveripatnam and Arikemedu on the east coast, the history of Machilipatnam port dates back to early centuries and has been referred to as ‘Masula’ by the ancient Greek writers.