The Visakhapatnam port has handled 18.47 million tonnes of cargo till the end of July this year against 20.64 million tonnes last year during the corresponding period, according to Deputy Chairman P L Haranadh.

He was speaking here on the occasion of the Independence Day after hoisting the National Flag.

He said the marginal decline was due to fall in iron ore imports by China and also as the agreements with Japan and South Korea had not been finalised yet. Dredging activity at the port was also responsible to an extent. He said the performance of the port would improve on all fronts during the rest of the financial year.

The Deputy Chairman said on the whole, the 12 major ports in the country had handled 202 mt till the end of July against 191 mt during the corresponding period last year, a growth of 6 per cent.

He said during the year, two berths had bee commissioned at Vizag port in March - WQ 6 for dry bulk cargoes and EQ 10 for liquid cargo in the inner harbour with a total capacity of 3.92 mt.

Haranadh said Rs 274 crore had been spent on strengthening the infrastructure at the port during 2014-15. The port has taken up installation of two 100 T harbour mobile cranes on the east and west quay berths and it may be completed by February next year.

All the berths in the inner harbour are being strengthened to cater to panamax vessels of draft up to 14 meters in a phased manner.

He said the port was also part of the Sagar Mala project and an elevated freight corridor would be taken up to connect the port with the industrial bypass road at a cost of Rs 800 crore to ease cargo evacuation from the port.

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