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VOC Port all set to become a mainline port to handle140 million tons of cargo a year

Inner harbor optimization plan will soon be put in place at the VOC Port Tuticorin near the land’s end in South Tamil Nadu to strengthen the port infrastructure so that the port can handle 140 million tons of cargo a year Port Chairman I Jeyakumar said.

Addressing a function organized 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 this year. The projects will enhance the efficiency and quality of port services.

Dredging work would be taken up at a cost of Rs. 2,000 crore to deepen the draft and it was expected to be completed within in a span of three years. The existing `12.8 meter draft at the port will be deepened to 16.5 meters to handle giant sized container and Petroleum 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 posing a stiff competition to Colombo port which is surviving on transshipment cargo from the Indian east coast ports.

Mr Jeyakumar said 50 per cent concession in vessel related charges would be offered to encourage mainline vessels to call at the port. Currently, eight feeder line vessels were calling at the port once a week.

In a significant development, a ship building and repairing yard on par with international standards to compete with Dubai, Singapore and Colombo would come up a the Tuticorin Port at a cost of Rs. 6,000 crore. 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 to Bengaluru from Tuticorin port.

He said the new truck parking terminal was opened by shipping minister Nitin Gadkari recently 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 facility.


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