India’s deepest draft port, Gangavaram port, in Andhra Pradesh crossed another milestone by handling its 100th capesize vessel.

The capesize vessel, ‘ m.v. Collonges’, was carrying 1.40 lakh tonnes of coking coal imported by Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. Capesize vessels are the largest ships that can carry dry-bulk cargo such as coal.

Helped by its natural deep draft, the port handled India’s first cape-size vessel in January 2009. During the last four years of operations, the port handled over 1,000 vessels, with a total throughput of over 53 million tonnes, covering cargoes such as coking/non-coking coal, iron-ore, fertilisers, agri-products, project cargo and a variety of industrial raw-materials.

D.V.S. Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, said “It was only after Gangavaram port became operational that it was possible to handle fully laden cape-size coal import vessels at any port in India.”

The port is in the process of expanding its capacity, having already completed award of major contracts and achieving financial closure for the project.

The expansion, which will see the port’s capacity increasing from the current 15 million tonnes to 45 mt, envisages addition of three multi-purpose berths and a coal handling terminal. While the three multi-purpose berths would each be 275 metres long, the coal berth will be handling up to 2,00,000 DWT ships. After the expansion, the port will be looking for more non-coal cargoes such as fertilisers, bauxite and food grains.

Today coal accounts for 70 per cent of its total traffic of about 14 mt.