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Friday, April 06, 2007

Tuticorin Port sets Record in Handling of Containers in 2006-2007

Tuticorin Port has been registering a consistent growth rate in handling of cargo and containers over the years. During 2006-07 the Port has handled 3,77,102 TEUs against 3,21,060 TEUs of containers handled during the corresponding period of the previous year, registering a growth rate of 17.46%. This is the highest volume of handled containers in a year in the history of the Port.

Further, Tuticorin Port handled 40,018 TEUs of containers in March 2007. This is the highest number of containers handled in a single month. The previous record was 36,215 TEUs of containers handled in August 2006. On 31.03.2007, Tuticorin Port created another record in container handling by handling 2717 TEUs of containers in a single ship (m.v.Tiger Sky). This is the highest volume of containers handled in a single ship.

Handling of containers in Tuticorin Port commenced in the year 1999 and a volume of 121 TEUs was handled in the first year. At that time, there was no dedicated berth for container vessels and the containers were handled by the ship's cranes only. As a result, the stay of the container vessel at berth was longer and about 12 to 15 containers were handled per hour / per crane. It took nearly three days to complete a container vessel. However, from 1999 onwards, a dedicated berth for a container vessel is allotted and gantry cranes are used for loading / unloading of containers. Following this initiative taken by the Port, the productivity of the container vessels increased to a large extent and the present per hour handling of 25 to 27 containers per hour / per crane is comparable to the International stand. Three gantry cranes and eight yard gantry cranes are being used now. The vessel's stay at berth has been considerably reduced now and on an average, a container vessel is handled in 15 hrs. The pre-berthing detention of container vessel on Port account is NIL. Following the various initiatives taken by the Port, the volume of containers handled at Tuticorin Port has increased from 2,12,925 TEUs in 2002-03 to 3,77,102 TEUs in 2006-07. During the last five years the number of containers handled in the Port has increased by 1,35,823 TEUs, registering a growth rate of 77.11 %.

A recent study carried out by some students of the Wharton Business School, USA, under the aegis of the Planning Commission of India has ranked Tuticorin Port Trust's container handling facilities as the best in India comparable to International Container Port such as Hongkong and Singapore in overall efficiency taking into account parameters such as technical efficiency, storage, scale efficiency.

In order to increase the volume of containers handled through the Port, the Port has taken various initiatives. The Harbour basin including the container berth was dredged from 8.24m to 10.7m in 1999 at a cost of Rs.216.90 crores. This has facilitated calling of mainline container vessels at Tuticorin Port regularly. In order to promote calling of mainline vessels at Tuticorin Port, an incentive in vessel related charges of 65% was offered. This resulted in reduction in cost of handling and quick delivery of containers to different parts of the World. The users were immensely benefitted. The garment and textile exporters and the importers of machinery from Tirupur, Karur and Salem regions are using Tuticorin Port for their import and export as Tuticorin Port has direct connectivity to American and European Ports in addition to the Far East Ports.

The handling capacity of the existing container terminal has almost reached a saturation point. To meet the future requirement, Berth No.8 will be converted as the second container terminal at a cost of Rs.150 crores. This will increase the container handling capacity of the Port by 4 lakh TEUs. Further, in the Inner Harbour Development, to be taken up shortly, the existing draft of 10.7m will be increased to 12.8m at an estimated cost of Rs.442 crores. With the expected completion of Sethusamudram Project in 2008, the Ports on the East Coast and West Coast will increasingly use Tuticorin Port as a Transhipment Hub Port and Tuticorin Port is expected to emerge as a Hub Container Port in the near future.

Shri N.K.Raghupahty, IAS, Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust congratulated the Container Terminal Operator, Port Users, Port Officers, Employees and Cargo Handling Labouers for achieving an all time high record in handling of containers and wished that with the concerted efforts of every one, Tuticorin Port would achieve more laurels in the coming years.

Source: Tuticorin Port

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