V.O. Chidambaranar (VOC) Port has emerged as the third fastest growing container handling facility in the country after Mumbai and Chennai, registering a throughput of about 4.77 lakh TEUs in 2011-12. This was a 2 per cent increase over the previous year.
According to Exim News Service, overall traffic during the just-concluded fiscal crossed 28 million tonnes (up 9.25 per cent over the previous fiscal) as well as the target of 26 million tonnes set by the Ministry of Shipping (MoS).
Speaking to newsmen here recently, Mr A. Subbiah, Chairman of VOC Port, said that the box terminal was aiming at breaching the 5-lakh-TEU mark in the current fiscal. The second box terminal was in the process of being awarded, he added.
The Port would have capacity to handle 1 million TEUs after the completion of the project, the Chairman highlighted.
The Port was also planning a dedicated container expressway, container truck parking terminal and a CFS at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore, besides implementing an ERP e-sail project for ensuring paperless flow through the gate. A six-lane new gate complex was also under tendering for facilitating the smooth flow of cargo and containers, Mr Subbiah said.
The Port handled import cargo totalling 19.5 million tonnes during the year and export cargo to the tune of 8.56 million tonnes. It berthed 1,490 vessels, the Chairman disclosed.
Efforts were on to restart the Colombo-Tuticorin passenger ferry service (which had been operational between June and November 2011), the Chairman said. "Inspite of providing dedicated berthing facility and a full-fledged passenger terminal with all amenities, the operator stopped the service citing technical reasons. For early resumption of the service, the Ministry and the Port have formed an operational sub-committee to sort out the issues."
The sub-committee is expected to meet on May 15 to decide on the date of the re-launch.
The Port generated revenue of Rs 303 crore with gross profit of Rs 164 crore in 2011-12. After tax deduction, its net profit will amount to Rs 102 crore, Mr Subbiah revealed.