Logistics

Steps afoot to bail out PPP projects in crisis : VPT chairman

Ch. R. S Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 14, 2017

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Some of the major projects taken up in the Visakhapatnam port in recent times under the public-private partnership model are in a crisis due to a number of reasons such as changed market conditions, rigid policy structures and competition from private ports, but steps are being contemplated to bail them out, according to Visakhaptnam port chairman M.T Krishna Babu.

In an interaction session with the media here on Thursday, he admitted that both the port and the PPP concessionaires were suffering as a result. "Abnormal storage charges under the tariff regime prescribed by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports is proving to be a huge challenge. Further, the private ports in the vicinity are offering 90 days free storage time but in Vizag port it is only ten days. It makes a huge difference and the scales are heavily tilted in favour of private ports, which enjoy freedom in fixing tariff," he said.

He said the port had written to the Shipping Ministry and the TAMP to apprise them of these problems and a decision would have to be taken at the central level. He said that at the local level "we are making all efforts to reduce charges in our control and to make it as easy as for the trade and the port users." After the passage of the new major ports bill, perhaps, major ports would have greater functional autonomy, he added.

Krishna Babu said that for some of the PPP projects the agreements may have to be terminated and fresh bids may have to be invited, but "there are several issues to be sorted out before that. Visakhapatnam port is taking over some of the berths developed by the private companies under the PPP model."

He said that in spite of these difficulties Visakhapatnam port had managed to handle 27.6 million tonnes of cargo so far during the current financial year till date, almost at the same level as during the last year.

He said the port was also making efforts to commercialise some of the land available with it in the city. "State IT Minister Lokesh is in favour developing IT clusters in some of the port lands in the city. We are exploring all possibilities," he said.

He said the port was aggressively implementing "Swachch Bhart Abiyan" and spending Rs 1.6 crore on keeping the premises clean and green. Further, the port was also implementing RFID (radio frequency identification) based access control systems at the five gates to ensure tracking of vehicles and personnel in the cargo-handling areas. KELTRON (Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation) was given the contract for seven years at a cost of Rs 7 crore to implement the RFID systems.

Published on September 14, 2017
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