VISAKHAPATNAM: Container traffic at Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is witnessing an upward growth during the last three years. VPT officials said better infrastructure facilities at the container terminal is helping the Major Port attract more customers into its fold as compared to other ports on the East Coast.
During 2016-17, container traffic grew by 25% with the Major Port handling a record 3.67 lakh TEUs as against 2.93 lakh TEUs in 2015-16.
In tonnage, a record quantity of 6.43 million tonnes was handled as against the previous record of 5.15 million tonnes in 2015-16.
VPT Deputy Chairman PL Haranadh said, “People are willing to divert containers to Vizag as it is good for finished goods. We are able to tap traffic from Raipur and also food grains going to Kakinada is now being converted to containerised form due to our marketing efforts.”
“We are also getting aluminium ingots from Jharsaguda area which were earlier going to Kolkata. We are at equal distance as compared to Kolkata, but we have coordinated with the railways to ensure a reasonable transit time,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, “Our services have improved at the terminal and we are providing better service than Kolkata, which has a lot detention and congestion issues.” He also said there has been growth in marine products as well as cotton, apparels and other agriculture products such as chilli. Transhipment traffic from neighbouring ports of Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip and some of the rail bound traffic has also helped improve the container traffic. Noting that Vizag’s promixity to feeder ports is one of the crucial advantages for VPT, the official said the transit time for a container transhipped via Vizag is lower than other transhipment hubs such as Singapore and Colombo. Incidentally, Taiwan-based carrier Wan Hai Lines launched its weekly service from VPT to Malacca Straits in March this year.