TUTICORIN: To enhance the efficiency and quality of port services, more infrastructure developments were envisaged under the reframed ‘inner harbour optimisation scheme’ so that the port could handle 140 million tonnes of cargo per year, according to Chairman of V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust Mr. I. Jeyakumar.
Addressing a function organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to give away the best export and port user awards, he was hopeful of getting Cabinet approval for the projects by April.
Dredging work would be taken up at a cost of Rs. 2,000 crore to deepen the draft and it was expected to be over in a span of three years.
The 12.8-metre draft would be deepened to 16.5 metres to handle large vessels. Over the last 11 years, only short-length vessels were handled at the port and recently a 256-metre-long vessel was handled on a trial basis.
This had created a positive impact in the market.
The VOC Port, which remained a feeder line service port, would emerge as a complete mainline vessel port in three years.
He said 50% concession would be offered to encourage mainline vessels to call at the port. Currently, eight feeders were calling at the port once a week.
More importantly, he said, a ship building and repairing yard on a par with international standards to compete with Dubai, Singapore and Colombo would come up at a cost of Rs. 6,000 crore and a multi-national company had shown interest in the project.
Three dry docks and three floating dry docks would be established and plans were also on to run container trains from Bengaluru to Thoothukudi.
He said the new truck parking terminal would be opened and Customs authorities had also agreed to do seal checking.
A WhatsApp facility, ‘VOCPT instant Ease of Doing Business,’ had been created and any issue could be addressed within five minutes through this.