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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuticorin Port proves mettle in anchorage operations

With the handling of m.v. Elpida S, Tuticorin Port has commenced its anchorage operations and proved its potential to handle deep-draught vessels that need over 10.7-metre draught at anchorage, says a press release issued by the Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT).

Availing of the new facility offered by the Port, Seapol Shipping Pvt. Ltd, Tuticorin, nominated a collier, m.v. Elpida S, with a parcel of 53,106 tonnes of coal, which arrived with a draught of 12.46 m on August 10.

The Port thus successfully handled its first coal vessel from August 10 to 12.

The Indonesian coal was imported by Coastal Energy, Chennai. The lighterage operation was effected by deploying two self-propelled barges of 1,000-tonne and 1,200-tonne capacities. After successful lightering of about 8,720 tonnes of cargo, the vessel reached the permissible draught of 10.7 m and berthed alongside VOC Berth No.III for full and final discharge of cargo.

On successful completion of both anchorage and alongside operations, the collier sailed off on August 16.

The introduction of anchorage operations at Tuticorin Port saves the ‘dead freight’ payable to vessels calling at the Port and facilitates handling of Panamax vessels without any pre-berthing detention.

TPT had planned to handle deep-draught vessels at the anchorage, subject to certain conditions, which were amplified in a ‘trade notice’ dated July 5 and supplemented with an earlier notice dated March 22.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

L&T to raise Rs 2,800cr, build shipyard

Larsen & Toubro (L&T), the country’s biggest construction and engineering company, announced it would raise Rs 2,800 crore ($700 million) through a global depository issue (GDR), most of which will be used to build a new shipyard.

The proposed equity sale would take place at Luxembourg Stock Exchange, Chairman A M Naik told shareholders at the company’s 62nd annual general meeting. The company had offered two bonus issues – one 3:5 in 1986 and 1:1 last year.

The fund will be used to part finance L&T’s capital expenditure of Rs 4,500 crore this year. Of this, about Rs 2,000 crore will be utilised for setting up the shipyard on 500 acres.

The company is also seeking a yen-denominated loan equivalent to $200 million (Rs 800 crore) from Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc, according to bankers.

“We have shortlisted two sites, one in Gujarat and another in Tamil Nadu, for the shipyard. We will announce the exact location next month,” Naik said.

L&T is one among four companies that is keen to build two mega shipyards of international standard. The other companies are Korean STX, Shapoorji Pallonji and Bharti Shipyard.

A report earlier this month quoted a government official as saying that the shipping ministry had identified Kakinada, Ennore and Tuticorin on the east coast and Mundra and Pipavav on the west coast.

L&T is also joining the special economic zone (SEZ) bandwagon. It has decided to set up two SEZs. Naik said the engineering services SEZ would come up in Vadodara. The other one would come up near the company’s proposed shipbuilding facility.

Source: Business Standard

Sunday, August 19, 2007

FICCI favours southern freight corridor

For Tamil Nadu, the conclave suggested a ‘Beach express’ along the East Coast. To link Tiruvanmiyur to Mahabalipuram in the first phase, this service could ultimately connect Puducherry and run up to Kanyakumari, incidentally also linking up the minor ports with Chennai on the one side and Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) on the other.

Friday, August 10, 2007

‘Raghupathy paid for inability to resolve Tuticorin port crisis’

Sethusamudram channel project chief N.K. Raghupathy who was asked to go on leave by the shipping ministry may well have paid a price for his inability to resolve a stand-off with container terminal operator PSA Sical Terminals Ltd, as chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust, his other responsibility. PSA Sical is a joint venture between Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and local company South India Corp. (Agencies) Ltd (Sical).

People close to the development who did not wish to be identified say that the tension between the terminal operator and the port may have contributed to his being asked to go on leave, much as other reasons related to the Sethusamudram project that envisages dredging Adams Bridge between India and Sri Lanka to allow passage of ships. The people and shipping ministry officials familiar with the matter say that Raghupathy had taken a “rigid view” on revision of tariff for the operator.
Shipping minister T.R. Baalu could not be contacted for his comments and Raghupathy was unavailable for comments as his cell phone was switched off.

PSA Sical operates the container terminal at Tuticorin port. Tariffs at this Central government-owned port are set by the Tariff Authority on Major Ports (TAMP). In response to an application last year from PSA Sical to allow it to increase tariffs, TAMP had reduced tariffs. PSA Sical had then approached the courts that stayed tariffs at the original rate. The case is still before the courts. Meanwhile, last month, PSA Sical had said it was reducing its service infrastructure at the port to the minimum mandated in its agreement with the government. This would have resulted in delays for ships calling at the port to load and unload cargo. PSA Sical subsequently decided to revert to full capacity last week.

For almost two weeks, though, the operator did lower service capacity at the port and some ships stayed berthed for longer periods. Some cargo was also diverted to neighbouring ports such as Colombo in Sri Lanka.

One person who is close to the discussions between the shipping ministry, the port authorities, and port operator said that Raghupathy had insisted that PSA Sical do business on TAMP’s terms. “The minister wanted the issue to be resolved at the earliest so that port operations would not be affected. But the issue dragged on,” this person said. A Sical executive who did not wish to be identified said that the situation had demanded that the former chairman take some proactive measures to resolve the crisis. However, a senior government official who did not want to be named said that there was not much that Raghupathy could have done as chairman of Tuticorin Port Trust to defuse the crisis.

“There is no way that the port chairman could have done anything other than implementing the TAMP order. There is no provision for revision of the concession agreement,” said an expert on the port sector who did not want to be named.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tuticorin Port celebrates 33rd anniversary of declaration as Major Port

The Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) on July 31 celebrated its 33rd anniversary of becoming a Major Port in a grand way. The Port was declared as the 10th Major Port in the country in June 1974.

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ms V. Radhika Selvi, was the chief guest at the function held to mark the anniversary. Mr M. Appadurai, MP, and Mr R. Dhanushkodi Athithan, MP, were the guests of honour.

Mr A. Subbiah, IAS, Deputy Chairman of TPT, welcomed the gathering.

Addressing the gathering, Mr K. Suresh, IAS, Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust and now also in charge of TPT, said that Tuticorin Port, which was stepping into its 34th year of operations as a Major Port, had registered considerable growth in all parameters. It had also achieved remarkable growth on the container shipping front. With all infrastructure developments at the Port on the upswing, it was now gearing up for a big makeover in the coming days, he announced.

Later, Ms Radhika Selvi distributed TPT’s awards for excellence in traffic performance during 2006-07 to steamer agents and stevedores on the occasion.

Members from TPT unions, TPT CHLP unions, Tuticorin Ship Agents’ Association, Tuticorin Steamer Agents’ Association, Tuticorin All India Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tuticorin Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry participated in the function.

Mr J. P. Joe Villavarayar, President of the Tuticorin Ship Agents’ Association, also graced the event.