Kakinada: The Kakinada Deep Water Port is now ready to compete with other por-ts such as Visakhapat-nam, Krishnapatnam and Chennai. The port authorities have established a container terminal at the Deep Water Port for the benefit of export and import trade.
The Kakinada Container Terminal (KCT) has been set up by a joint venture of Kakinada Infrastructure Holdings Limited, Ports of Singa-pore Authority (PSA) and Botra Shipping Limited. Till now, the container cargo from the hinterland of Kakinada Port used to be routed through Visakhapatnam, Krishnapatnam and Chennai as there was no container facility in Kakinada Port.
But now the port aut-horities are ready handle container at the Deep Water Port. It will be of great benefit to rice, sea-food, maize, cement and other cargos, according to local trade. “East and West Godavari districts are known as agro hubs. The container facility in the Kakinada Deep Water Port will be a boon to them as they can handle cargo smoothly and reduce their transport charges,”said KCT director M. Muralidhar.
He said that the container terminal is located at a separate clean area in the port and there will not be any pollution. Rice exporters are exp-ressing their happiness as they have been utilizing other ports for container facility for expo-rts and also only four to five exporters are handling rice cargo from Kakinada Anchorage port in bulk quantity.
“Now, rice export number can be increased to 20 to 25 in next two years as they can export small quantities of rice bags to African countries by maintaining quality,” said a rice miller.
However, the Coconada Chamber of Commerce chairman Dantu Surya Rao who fought for providing container facility since many years said that imports are playing a crucial role for viability of container handling in the Kakinada Port.
Otherwise, if the KCT depend upon only on exports, it may difficult to make it self-sustainable. He suggested the port authorities to make handling charges economically viable than Chennai Port.
Business may shift to old port
Setting up of the proposed container terminal at Kakinada Deep Water Port is likely to result in a diversion of rice cargo to the new facility. This could ruin the old anchorage port and lead to loss of jobs. The old port is entirely dependent on rice and maize exports. Previously, fertilizer cargo used to be handled in the anchorage port.
When it got too busy with the rice and maize exports, fertilizer cargo was diverted to Kakinada deep water port and a conveyer belt was set up there especially for fertilizer cargo. Now, the anchorage port is exporting only rice to Afri-can countries.
“At present, the anchorage port is in a pathetic condition. The authorit-ies are not able to attract new cargo, and this might affect the very survival of port,” a carry and forwarding agent in the shipping trade said.
Hind Mazdoor Sangh (HMS) former president Vanamadi Veerababu said that as container cargo facility will be available at the deep water port, the anchorage port will be badly affected and thousands of port workersmight lose their livelihood. However, Cocanada Chamber of Commerce president Dantu Surya Rao does not think so. Exporters can continue handling rice cargo in bulk quantity at the anchorage port as the operational costs are cheap compared to other ports in the state, he said.
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