V.O. Chidambaranar port project gets a Budget boost

T. E. Raja Simhan | | Updated on: Mar 12, 2018


Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has given a major boost to the development of the outer harbour project at VOC Port Trust (formerly called Tuticorin port) in Tamil Nadu. This was a project that was conceived more than seven years ago but made little progress.

The Minister has announced that the project would be developed through public-private-partnership at an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore to create an additional annual capacity by over 43 million tonnes (mt).

The project is going to be vital for the port, which is emerging as a major power hub in southern Tamil Nadu with a generating capacity of over 1,050 MW of power. Other power plants are also coming up in and around the port, and a number of industries have developed near the port.

However, the success of project will heavily depend on how the hinterland in and around Tuticorin is developed. A number of industries should come up in parallel to support such a huge project, said J.P. Joe Villavarayar, Managing Director, Villavarayar and Sons, and a trustee of the VOC Port Trust.

The port is heading for saturation. There is a plan to develop four new berths for coal handling and two shallow berths. These will serve for the next five years by when ‘we should have the outer harbour,’ he said. “Today’s announcement is a great news for the entire maritime trade in Tuticorin,” he said.

The port’s present cargo handling capacity is 22.81 mt. The port’s business plan indicates a traffic projection of 57 mt by 2020 with a number of thermal power plants planned in and around the port. This necessitates construction of additional berths.

According to the earlier plan of the port, the outer harbour development will be an extension of the inner harbour water area.

In the first phase, four berths were planned to be constructed to handle containers. A 1,500 m long container terminal with an operating draft of 15 m, which is adequate to handle main line container vessels of 9,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) was proposed. A separate rail line for the outer harbour was also proposed to take care of future rail traffic.

Manickam Ramaswami, Chairman and Managing Director, Loyal Textiles, said that logistics is an important part of exporters' costs. Once the proposed projects in Tuticorin and new ports in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh become functional, it will reduce the logistics costs significantly.


Published on March 01, 2013
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