CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Maritime Board’s infrastructure project in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu has been accorded permission for expansion by the State’s Coastal Management Zone Authority.
Though the existing Cuddalore Port is an open anchorage port at the confluence of the Uppanar and Paravanar rivers, the expansion comes under the central government’s ambitious Sagarmala scheme for port modernisation and new port development.
It is expected that cargo traffic at Indian ports will increase to 2,500 million metric tonnes per annum by the year 2025. The existing port by itself is defunct for want of required depth of water spread as the Port has lost the depth to silting in the last two years. Hence, dredging has become important even to operate barges to negotiate the permitted cargo in the Port, according to the project pre-feasibility report, submitted for Environmental Clearance.
The project will add two additional berths with multi-cargo handling facilities. The proposed berths will be 120 x 21 m each. The depth at the proposed berth area will be dredged for -10 m. This is set to increase the cargo handling facility of the port from 0.37 to 5.68 metric tonnes per annum. The project is estimated to cost Rs 135 crore.
Fishermen have opposed the expansion project and have demanded the government to demarcate the area for ferry services, small commercial establishments and recreational activities, which would enable additional sources of income for them.
VOC Chidambaram Port on expansion mode to receive bigger vessels. The VOC Chidambaram port in Tuticorin, is eyeing for a bigger role in
handling vessels of larger dimensions and deeper drafts. The port has embarked on an expansion taking into account the increasing demand for larger sized containers and dry bulk vessels of 16 m draft besides attracting transshipment traffic.
The port is building capacities which include enhancement of draft in the dock basin and approach channel phase I. the depth in the dock basin of the port will be increased to 15.50 metres and the approach channel to 16.50 m to facilitate handling fully laden Panamax size vessels with a draft of upto 14.5 m as well as container vessels with a capacity of 9,500 TEUs. Also, the port has plans to increase the depth of the inner harbour to 16.70 m.
The port created history in mid-October this year in handling MV Zheng Jun, the Panama flagged vessel, with a 14-metre draft and carrying a shipment of 74,962 tonnes of coal for Neyveli Thermal Power plant (NTPL). The vessel which arrived from Samarinda in Indonesia, was berthed at the North Cargo Berth I.
Even on earlier occasion on June 20, this year, the port demonstrated its abilities in handling bigger vessels. MV Dinysus with a draft of 13.20 m carried 60,500 tonnes of rock phosphate for Greenstar Fertilisers, Thoothukudi.