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Early completion of Port Madhuravoyal Elevated corridor is the life line for Chennai port in future

With Chennai port functioning forty per cent of its installed capacity in cargo handling, the early and quick completion of the Port Maduravoyal elevated corridor project alone will bring about transformation of its fortunes in future said a senior official of the port.

While the cargo handling capacity of the port is around 130 million tonnes, the port's throughput last year was around fifty million tonnes. It is not likely to increase unless the infrastructure for evacuation of containers is strengthened the official said adding availability of cargo is not be a problem.

While the port is facing intense competition from Kattupalli and Krishnapatnam ports sharing the same hinterland of Northern Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh besides Bengaluru, the game changer will be the early completion of the corridor project. Both the competing ports are not situated near the city and enjoy an advantage of traffic entry into their premises.

The Elevated Corridor Project conceived way back in 2009 should have been in place by now but for the obstructive attitude of the former chief minister J Jayalalitha. She had the project blocked on environmental grounds.

Work on the project was stalled for nearly four years and the National High way Authority of India is currently giving shape of revised Project Report. The exercise is expected to be completed by February next year. Resumption of work is expected by June next year and is likely to be completed by 2020.

The official said the port is putting pressure on the NHAI to complete the project at the earliest so that there will be seamless movement of containers from the port premises to the Kolkata national highway. It will be a dedicated corridor for the container trucks and will not get entangled in the bustling city traffic. A container trailer will take hardly 30 minutes to reach the high way from the port premises.

The glitches at the Chennai Port entrance of the six lane dedicated highway between Chennai and Ennore ports near NTO Kuppam and fishing harbour will be removed in a few months time. The National high way authority will complete relaying of roads near the Kuppam area within a month.

The encroachment near the fishing harbour is being removed after the Port administration had constructed platforms for the fishermen to sell their produce. Swift movement of container traffic between the two ports and the industrial area of north Chennai is only a few months away the official said.

As of now the container trailers take hardly 12 hours to reach the handling terminal in the port from the Container Freight Stations situated in various parts of the city suburbs according to a study conducted by a Japanese agency JICA.

The satellite port at Puducherry is expected to start functioning from second week of January as the dredging operations have been completed. The port which was to have been commissioned by August was delayed due to draft problems. A dedicated ship to ferry the containers to and fro from the Chennai port is waiting at Chennai port to commence the operations.

The official said about five lakh tones of container and bulk cargo is expected to carry between the two ports reducing congestion in the southern trunk road leading to the Chennai city.

A consultant has been appointed for setting up a multi modal transport system at Railway yard at Jolarpettai about two hundred kilometers west of Chennai port. The railway lines from industrial towns of Coimbatore and Bengaluru to Chennai converge at Jolarpettai. Chennai port has planned a multi modal park at Jolarpet where the containers will be cleared by the customs and moved straight to the port.

The consultant will prepare the detailed project report based on which tenders will be called. Railways have allowed the Chennai Port to put up the Park.

The construction of coastal berth which got stuck by the rock formation is likely to be completed in another six months at the southern end of the port with a dedicated coastal road. It also has an independent back up area of 600 X 260 meters where the domestic cargo could be loaded or unloaded without the presence of customs or immigration authorities The port plans to handle general cargo and launch Ro Ro vessels from this berth to handle coastal handling of automobiles.

The refurbished cruise terminal is ready for operations and is expected to receive the first cruise by March next year. The terminal has been renovated at a cost of Rs fifteen crores. Chennai is the only port in the East Coast where the shipping ministry intends to promote cruise shipping besides the three ports of Mormugoa, Mumbai and Cochin in the West Coast.

A uniform tariff policy has been announced for cruise shipping in all the four ports. The tariff has been slashed by 30 to fifty per cent the official said in a bid to attract more cruise liners to the Indian coast.


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