The Visakhapatnam Port Authority intends to broaden its cargo range

26 December 2022

On October 7, 1933, the SS Jaladurga, the first passenger ship, sailed into the harbour of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (now known as the Visakhapatnam Port Authority). At the time, the harbour’s creators and engineers had no idea that it would one day grow to be one of the nation’s major ports.
At the time, it was planned to use just one or two ports in the inner harbour to accommodate an annual volume of roughly 1.3 to 1.5 lakh tonnes of goods. Nearly 69 million tonnes of cargo were transported by the multiple-berth VPA during the fiscal year 2021–2022. According to K. Rama Mohana Rao, chairman of the VPA, the forecast for this year is more than 72 million tonnes.
The British administration had intended to build a harbour in Visakhapatnam at the turn of the 20th century to link the eastern coast to the interior in central India using the city’s natural resources. Creating a technical report was the responsibility of British Admiralty Col. H. Cartwright Reid. The major issue that arose during construction, nevertheless, was how to stop the constant silting at the harbour’s mouth. The duty of building the port and the harbour was given to Bengal Nagpur Railway after several tests in which two ships, Janus and Wellesdon, were sunk at the harbour’s entrance to create a breakwater. The port’s first phase was completed between 1927 and 1933, and on December 19, 1933, Lord Willingdon, the country’s viceroy and governor general at the time, officially opened it.

Plan for growth

VPA is now preparing to diversify its cargo profile given that bulk cargo is the company’s primary focus. According to Mr. Rama Mohana Rao, “instead of the conventional coal, oil, and other bulk cargoes, we are now focusing on handling food grains and preliminary talks with investors are on to establish storage facilities with an investment of roughly $200-300 crore.” Aside from this, it is predicted that crude oil imports will increase since Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has increased its capacity from 8 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes and is likely to increase further now that its expansion project is almost complete. In addition to mechanizing a few berths through a public-private partnership at a cost of around 288 crore, the VPA is also planning covered storage sheds to reduce dust pollution.

The renovation of the railway yard, the building of covered sheds, and the maintenance of the ORS and LPG jetties are all included in the expansion of the infrastructure. On the other hand, work is progressing on the projected Cruise-cum-Coastal cargo terminal, which is expected to cost 96.05 crore and will include other infrastructure and facilities at Channel Berth zone in Outer Harbour of VPA, in addition to providing for cargoes.

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