CHENNAI: Chennai port is now the deepest port among the 12 major ports in India and can now handle large ships, according to the Chennai Port chairman, Cyril George.
Addressing a press conference here, George said that the port now has a draft of 15.5 metres and can cater to vessels with a tonnage of 8,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).
“Earlier, the port could handle vessels with only 6,000 TEUs,” explained the port chairman.
He said that the total cost for developing the deeper draft had come up to Rs 30 crore.
He said that the port handled cargo of 50.06 million tonnes in 2015-16, a marginal dip from 52.54 million tonnes handled during the previous financial year due to decrease in the traffic.
However, this did not affect the net profit of the port, which has increased from Rs 23 crore to Rs 42 crore.
George also said that congestion in the Chennai Port has been reduced to a minimum.
“We will be inaugurating the paperless movement of container trucks with the inauguration of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on Wednesday,” he said.
RFID system has been implemented on a trial basis successfully in the Port. The trial had covered the container freight stations.
George also said that Chennai Port has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Southern railway recently. This MoU was aimed at optimising rail throughput of automobile traffic for export through Chennai Port.
Plans to convert Puduvai port as a feeder
After Kamarajar Port (formerly Ennore port) dropped the plan to acquire Puducherry Port, it seems Chennai Port is planning to convert it into a feeder port to cater to the needs of small ships.
Chennai Port Trust (CPT) chairman Cyril C George told Express that preliminary discussions are on in this regard. The CPT board seems to have approved the proposal.
This comes at a time when Kamarajar Port had dropped the plan to develop the minor port in Puducherry through a special purpose vehicle. George also said Chennai Port could not sign the memorandum of understanding with Neyveli Lignite Corporation on developing a satellite port in Sirkazhi due to the elections.
“We are awaiting the formal allocation of land following which the memorandum of understanding will be signed in two to three weeks time,” he said. The port could handle coal for the proposed 2,000 MW thermal plant of NLC.
To a query on whether the logjam over the Rs 1800 crore Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated corridor project would be resolved, George said discussions would be held to work out a solution to revive the project with a likely realignment.
He disclosed that Chennai Port would soon become tourist friendly with the opening of Rs 17 crore cruise terminal which is likely to be inaugurated by the end of June.